We got our first taste of the 2021 NFL campaign and we may already have a glimpse into a long-standing strategy when it comes to survivor or pick ’em leagues.
One piece of advice: It’s a lot easier to pick against the no-good-very-bad teams than it is to pick the good ones — especially since you only can pick the good ones once. And, well, we may have been granted a sneak peak into who those no-good-very-bad teams will be.
It’s depicted in our list of three teams to consider entering Week 2. Of note, all betting lines are via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Three teams to pick:
Cleveland Browns (-12, -575 money line bet)
Opponent: vs. Houston Texans
The Deshaun Watson-less Texans shocked some by earning a win in their first week of the season, but that came against an opponent also included here — the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Browns are tied for the largest Week 2 point spread, and the fact you would have to bet $575 to win $100 depicts the confidence oddsmakers have in Cleveland to move to .500 after a tight loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12, -760)
Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons
We said last week the Buccaneers would have easier games than their Week 1 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, and it proved correct. The defending champion Bucs needed a Tom Brady crunch-time drive to pull out a win opening night, but their Week 2 game against the woeful Falcons shouldn’t go the same way. The two AFC South rivals play later this season, as well.
Denver Broncos (-6, -265)
Opponent: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars allowed Houston to score 37 points with Tyrod Taylor sniffing 300 yards passing and Brandin Cooks — yes, Brandin Cooks — recording 26.4 yards per reception on five catches. Denver’s defense is far superior to Jacksonville, as are the offensive weapons. This should be one of Denver’s best remaining matchups this season.
Three teams to avoid:
Los Angeles Chargers (-3, -160)
Opponent: vs. Dallas Cowboys
This is the second straight week we’ve included the Chargers on our teams to avoid (they played the Washington Football Team during Week 1). And while we’re not down on Justin Herbert or the Chargers, it’s just the reality they haven’t had good do-or-die matchups yet. It’s a long season and the Chargers surely will be on the other side down the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6, -250)
Opponent: vs. Las Vegas Raiders
The Steelers defense was wildly impressive during a Week 1 win over the Buffalo Bills, but their offense still presents plenty of question marks. Meanwhile, Las Vegas could be cooking with gas after a comeback win on “Monday Night Football.” This is another game that could come down to the wire, which you want nothing to do with this early in a survivor league.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5, -195)
Opponent: Indianapolis Colts
We felt comfortable going with LA in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, but this matchup presents what should be a different challenge. Indianapolis All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and the Colts could, in theory, neutralize Aaron Donald, and then ride a strong rushing attack at home. Then again, Donald could do Donald things and the Rams could be on the fast track to a statement win. We’ll sit this one out, though.
The Week 2 pick? Cleveland Browns
Teams used: San Francisco 49ers (Week 1)