NFL Survivor Pool Picks 2018: Possible Teams to Fade for Success

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We are back for another exciting season of Survivor Pool action in 2018. Last season, the Cleveland Browns joined the 2008 Detroit Lions as the best Survivor Pool teams ever, compiling a 0-16 record. Since that dubious feat had happened only once before, I was shocked that the Browns didn’t eventually win at least one game. They did manage to pull one upset in 2016, but last year they looked even worse as a team. And they were very kind to those brave Survivor Pool players that faded them consistently every week.

While you can’t fade, or go against, the same team every week, because all NFL teams play each team in their division twice each season and most Survivor Pools allow entrants to pick each team only once, if you can find a team like the Browns in 2017 or the Lions in 2008 then you can ride them most of the season and at least get close to winning your pool.

However, teams like these 0-16 losers don’t come around often. Most seasons the worst team in the league wins at least two games. That is why I try and rely on my handicapping of the matchups mostly instead of just riding a fade team all season. Even the dregs of the NFL will probably win a couple games each season, and blindly fading these bad squads will eventually end your Survivor Pool season before the finish line during most NFL seasons.

Regardless, it’s a good idea to identify the best possible fade teams before the season starts. While I don’t blindly fade teams during the season, during a tough week it always helps to have a team like the 2016 and 2017 Browns in your back pocket when there aren’t too many attractive matchups. Also, late in the season when most of the quality NFL teams have been used, having a good fade team available can help when there aren’t many good options available.

Today we will look at the best possible fade teams for the 2018 NFL season to help with weekly Survivor Pool picks. I like to review sportsbook futures odds to help figure out who those teams will be. Remember, however, that the sportsbooks don’t set the odds according to who they think will be good or bad but instead set them according to which way their client base is expected to bet. For example, maybe the sportsbooks think that the New England Patriots will take a step back in 2018. But they know that their clients will bet them with fervor. Therefore, they will set the odds at a high price regardless of their personal feelings about the team. And despite the fact that I know a bunch of sharp bettors that don’t expect New England to return to the Super Bowl, they are still listed as Super Bowl favorites according to the betting odds.

Also, there is so much parity and turnover in the NFL that it’s incredibly difficult to predict the good and bad teams every year. On average six teams that made the postseason the year before won’t be back the following year. I certainly thought the Browns would be a lot better in 2017 than the previous year’s edition, but they turned out even worse. And the Jets were supposed to be one of the all-time worst teams in 2017, but they wound up being extremely competitive and won five games. New York knocked a ton of faders out of their Survivor Pools early. That’s why it pays to do your own research and not pay attention to what the masses say. has some props listed on their site for the teams with the potential for the worst regular-season record in 2018. That seems like a good place to start. If you are not familiar with moneyline odds, or need a refresher, if a team is +800 then a $100 bet on that club to have the worst record in the NFL will pay $800 if that team does indeed finish with the worst record. Here are the odds at

98604 Buffalo Bills +600
98608 Cleveland Browns +800
98601 Arizona Cardinals +900
98624 New York Jets +1000
98630 Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1000
98606 Chicago Bears +1200
98607 Cincinnati Bengals +1200
98619 Miami Dolphins +1200
98614 Indianapolis Colts +1400
98623 New York Giants +1600
98629 Seattle Seahawks +1600
98632 Washington Redskins +1600
98610 Denver Broncos +2000
98611 Detroit Lions +2000
98625 Oakland Raiders +2000
98631 Tennessee Titans +2000
98603 Baltimore Ravens +2500
98628 San Francisco 49ers +2500
98605 Carolina Panthers +3300
98609 Dallas Cowboys +3300
98613 Houston Texans +3300
98616 Kansas City Chiefs +3300
98602 Atlanta Falcons +5000
98615 Jacksonville Jaguars +5000
98617 Los Angeles Chargers +6600
98622 New Orleans Saints +6600
98612 Green Bay Packers +10000
98618 Los Angeles Rams +10000
98620 Minnesota Vikings +10000
98626 Philadelphia Eagles +12500
98627 Pittsburgh Steelers +12500
98621 New England Patriots +15000


Here we will look at the Top 5 teams to have the worst record in the NFL in 2018, with some general comments and a look at potential fade spots in their early-season schedule.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills, shockingly, are the favorite to have the worst record in the NFL, even over the Browns, who have gone 1-31 the last two seasons. Buffalo made the freaking playoffs last season! So, what went wrong with this team in the offseason? They traded away their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, they drafted a project rookie QB in Josh Allen, and their offensive line was decimated.  Even though BetOnline has them as the favorite for the worst record in the NFL this season, they still have an “Over/Under” win total of six games (sportsbooks let clients bet on whether a team will win more or less games than a number they give for each team before the season starts). That just shows that there is a lot of parity in the NFL this season, and there will probably not be any very bad teams like the Browns the last two years. But Buffalo might be a solid fade candidate, at least early in the season when they play five of their first seven on the road. If Allen is thrown into the fire early, then that will make this team an even more attractive fade candidate. Regardless, this is a prime candidate team to have the worst record in the NFL this season.

Early-Season Possible Fade Opportunities:

Week 1 at Baltimore, Week 2 vs. LA Chargers, Week 3 at Minnesota, Week 4 at Green Bay, Week 6 at Houston

Cleveland Browns

Before last season I stated I thought Cleveland would be a lot better in 2017 and that they would not be a great fade team. Boy, was I wrong on that statement. This team has a season win total of 5.5 this season, so they are expected to be a lot better. I have heard some people call them a sleeper playoff team. I would not go that far, but they should be much more competitive, and I could see them winning five or six games. They have drafted well the last couple years and seem to have their QB situation ironed out with Taylor coming in from Buffalo and Baker Mayfield waiting in the wings. I think that this team will be solid with a ceiling of 7 wins. Bettors seem to agree as it costs a steep price to bet the “over” on their season win total because of lopsided action from bettors who expect improvement. I don’t think Cleveland is a quality fade team this season. But, of course, I have been wrong before. And they do have a tough early-season schedule and might have some growing pains before improvement later in the season.

Early-Season Possible Fade Opportunities:

Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 2 at New Orleans, Week 4 at Oakland, Week 5 vs. Baltimore, Week 6 vs. LA Chargers

Arizona Cardinals has the Cardinals as the third-most-likely team to have the worst record in the NFL. They have a new head coach, Steve Wilks, and this guy has zero head coaching experience in pro or college football. There are going to be some growing pains there. This team brought in Sam Bradford as QB and they drafted Josh Rosen from UCLA. Bradford is very unlikely to stay healthy behind a mediocre offensive line, and Rosen will be in tough if forced to start as a rookie. This team went 8-8 last season. Their season win total this year is listed at 5.5 games. The Cardinals are rebuilding, but they still have some talent and this squad will probably win between four and seven games, the latter most likely if Bradford manages to stay healthy for most of the season. This team should have a solid defense that will keep them in many games.

Early-Season Possible Fade Opportunities:

Week 1 vs. Washington, Week 2 at LA Rams, Week 5 at San Francisco, Week 6 at Minnesota

New York Jets

This team was one I liked to call a “blue-collar club” last season. They didn’t have a lot of talent, but they played hard every week and massively exceeded their dire preseason expectations. This season the team has been given a season win total of six games. It looks like they are going to go with rookie QB Sam Darnold, from USC, early in the season. While that will probably pay off in the future, the team around him is not good enough for him to step in and have a great deal of success right away. This team has a tough early-season schedule, and they will probably be a decent fade early in the year, especially with Darnold learning the ropes on the fly. But this team should finish with five or six wins, and they should be very competitive and play hard most of the season. Fade with caution.

Early-Season Possible Fade Opportunities:

Week 1 at Detroit, Week 4 at Jacksonville, Week 5 vs. Denver, Week 6 vs. Indianapolis, Week 7 vs. Minnesota

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Many, including myself, thought the Buccaneers would be a playoff team in 2017 after knocking on the door of the postseason in 2016. But they regressed, and QB Jameis Winston didn’t play well through injuries. They also had their first game postponed because of Hurricane Irma, and they lost their bye week as a result. I think that had a negative mental effect on this team. Winston is suspended the first three games of the season for more off-the-field antics, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will attempt to keep the team afloat in his absence. Head Coach Dirk Koetter has even said that Winston will not be the automatic starter when he returns, either. All of this is a lot of drama for a team that underperformed against expectations last season. I think this is a great team to fade the first few weeks while Winston is out as they have a murderer’s row of opponents to start the season until the QB returns Week 4 at Chicago. Overall, however, I do think this team has a chance to win five to seven games, if they get a couple bounces that go their way, and that they won’t be a great blind fade candidate past those first three games of the season.

Early-Season Possible Fade Opportunities:

Week 1 at New Orleans, Week 2 vs. Philadelphia, Week 3 at Pittsburgh