Introducing The NFL Survivor Pool Optimizer

Introducing The NFL Survivor Pool Optimizer

Jason Scavone
Handicapping Contests
September 6, 2023

A collection of survival gear, including waterproof boots, a tin coffee cup, rope, a knifea football, representing the NFL Survival Pool Optimizer


Survivor pools can be a great way to get a season-long sweat going, or a phenomenal way to lose all your equity in Week 1 (thanks, Indianapolis-Houston, for that Week 1 tie last year). We’re introducing our NFL Survivor Pool Optimizer to help you avoid the early flame-out and find your best path forward.

The tool allows you to import entries from popular sites like RunYourPool and DraftKings, input your Circa Sports entries, or create a custom entry for other contests.



Importing a RunYourPool entry, for example, requires you to find your pool’s ID number and your member number to import your entry. 

Once you have your entry set up, you can start to build out your picks for the season. We’re going to use our entry in Unabated’s survivor contest at RunYourPool. You can sign up for that contest through 1 p.m. Sept. 10. The winner gets a year of Unabated Premium, plus we have prizes for making it through Week 8, reaching the final 10 and final five.



Here’s a quick tutorial on using the tool for the video-inclined.


Using the NFL Survivor Pool Optimizer

The first step is to choose which projection sets you want to employ in your entry. 

We have several projection sets you can blend together to get numbers you think are accurate. We don’t currently support uploading your own projections to the NFL Survivor Pool Optimizer. 


Here we’ll use a roughly even blend of the Massey-Peabody ratings, market-based ratings, the Massey ratings and The Power Rank.

The next step is to choose how much you want to weigh future value and how contrarian you want to make your picks.

Future value looks at how many good matchups a team has left on the schedule. It will try to save a team from an earlier-schedule game in favor of using them later in the season. If you have it set to “none,” the tool will try to find the team with the best win chance each week. 

The chalk/contrarian toggle will let you choose whether to pick teams with the maximum win chance as defined by the implied probability in the betting markets, or whether to leverage teams that are being selected less in your current pool.



Fine-Tuning Your Entry

For the Unabated RunYourPool survivor, here’s the output for the first seven weeks using a maximum emphasis on future value, and a contrarian strategy.

The “win chance” column shows each team’s chance as estimated by the current betting markets. “Future value” uses a star system to show how valuable a team might be down the line. The Bills and Ravens have a lot of future value if you don’t take those favorable Week 2 and 3 matchups.



When you click “options” a sidebar will show you other plays you could make for that week. The Ravens against the Texans will be another popular Week 1 survivor pick. 

Washington’s Terry McLaurin suffered a toe injury in practice. He’s likely to play in Week 1 against Arizona, but maybe you’re skittish. Or maybe you just want to pick against a Commanders team likely to be the top choice for most players. Click the lock icon on another team to make them your selection. 



By going with the Ravens, the tool found a different path through the first eight weeks.

As you wind through the season, the market dynamics will change based on new information. Stay nimble and keep coming back to your entries. You can even change up your strategy as the season progresses. You may opt for a more conservative strategy if the field starts to thin. Or if too many people are hanging around, you could change to a more aggressive tack.

If you have questions about the tool or want to talk survivor strategy, come fire your questions in the Discord. The NFL Survivor Pool Optimizer requires an Essentials or higher tier membership.

Copyright 2024 © Unabated Sports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This site is strictly for educational and informational purposes only and does not involve any real-money betting. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER. This service is intended for adults aged 18 and over only.