Best survivor pool picks for Week 11 of the NFL season
As we close in on Thanksgiving, we're going to change our tack here in the survivor column. It's safe to assume that at this point most of you have used Denver and Seattle. If you still have the Seahawks, they're clearly a great choice against the Vikings this week. And if you're in a pool that is getting down to its final few members and still have them, chances are you'll want to go in that direction.
However, most people need to start reaching at this point of the season, and that's exactly what we'll do here. We're going to look primarily for teams under the radar that can help you survive for another week. For Week 11, there's one team right off the top that has been written off by most for good reason, but is one of the best picks on the board.
1. Houston Texans (vs. Oakland Raiders) -- It has been a disastrous season for the two-time defending champions of the AFC South, but they should be a strong survivor pick for Week 11. They're laying 7.5 points against the visiting Raiders, a number I expect them to cover. For all the press he's received, Terrelle Pryor hasn't exactly been the most effective quarterback in the world. Now he and the Raiders go up against a Houston defense that ranks 11th against the run and eighth in pass rush according to Pro Football Focus. And of course, Pryor may not even play because of a balky knee. If he can't go, Matt McGloin will start. If Case Keenum can lead the Texans to 20 points, they should come away with a win. That feels like a foregone conclusion against an Oakland defense Pro Football Focus ranks 25th in the league. Pick the Texans with confidence.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Washington Redskins) -- While Robert Griffin III and the Washington pass offense have improved all season, and Alfred Morris has been a beast from the word "go," this defense has been terrible all year. It still allows 8.3 yards per attempt and has surrendered 19 passing touchdowns. That's a terrible recipe when going up against the red-hot Nick Foles. As we discussed in this week's projections, Foles is threatening the record set by Peyton Manning earlier this year for most touchdowns thrown to start a season without an interception. Foles would tie the mark with four scores and no picks on Sunday. Given the matchup and the way he is clicking with DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper, he just might do it. The Eagles are 3.5-point favorites. You should feel comfortable with your survivor life on them.
3. Detroit Lions (at Pittsburgh Steelers) -- You want a terrible formula for containing Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. Start with a team that is in the middle of the pack when it comes to rushing the passer; add in below-average pass coverage and even worse run defense, and you've got it. That mix characterizes the Pittsburgh defense. Quite simply, the Steelers don't have the defense to stop the Lions, and they don't have the offense to score with them. On the other hand, the Lions boast the league's fifth best pass rush according to Pro Football Focus, and that should create a ton of trouble for a pass-blocking unit that ranks 21st in the league.
MORE WEEK 11 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- Will Nick Foles surpass Peyton Manning's record?
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- How do marquee games in Week 11 affect rankings?
EDHOLM, MIGLIO: Bold Strategies -- Matt Ryan could be a sneaky-good start
SI STAFF: Roundtable -- Can Tavon Austin repeat his Week 10 performance?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Buccaneers' backup running backs ready to step up
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Riley Cooper, Alshon Jeffery continue to impress
BELLER: Early Week 11 Advice -- Colin Kaepernick now backup status