There tends to be a perfect balance when choosing teams in an NFL survivor league or pick ’em contest.
You want to get off to a strong start given that there’s so much unknown at the beginning of a season, and that might lead you to choose one or two of the better teams early knowing you’re losing them for good.
But, at the same time, you want to somewhat plan for the future to ensure you’ll have some playoff-caliber teams available when you hit Weeks 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 — should you make it that far. With that, sometimes you have to take a team with a high probability to win that week, but maybe one that won’t entice you down the road.
Anyway, here are three teams to pick and three others to avoid entering Week 3 of your NFL survivor league. Of note, all betting lines are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Three teams to pick:
Denver Broncos (-10, -575 moneyline bet)
Opponent: vs. New York Jets
Save for a mid-December contest with the Cincinnati Bengals, this Week 3 clash probably serves as the best remaining chance to use Denver. And yes, we know we said that last week when the Broncos played the Jaguars, but the point rings true. Broncos-Jets opened with the biggest spread of the Week 3 slate, and New York is fresh off its second straight loss. The Broncos are unbeaten but probably aren’t as good as that would otherwise seem, with wins over the New York Giants and the Jaguars. Oh yeah, and have you heard about the legend of Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater?
Baltimore Ravens (-7.5, -365)
Opponent: at Detroit Lions
The Ravens are fresh off a momentum-shifting win over the Kansas City Chiefs on “Sunday Night Football” and now enter a contest against a lesser-talented Lions group, which is coming off a short week following a loss to the Green Bay Packers on “Monday Night Football.” Detroit failed to cover a 12-point spread against Green Bay, for what it’s worth. The Ravens are on the road, but Lamar Jackson and their style of football should have them cruising to victory.
Carolina Panthers (-8, -380)
Opponent: at Houston Texans
The unbeaten Panthers are off to a good start, especially with a one-sided win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. You can expect Carolina to move to 3-0 with another favorable early-season game against the lowly Texans. The Panthers should serve as a strong contender for your Week 3 survivor pick, but it’s worth mentioning they still have their NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons twice on the schedule.
Honorable mention: Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Jaguars
Three teams to avoid:
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5, -310)
Opponent: vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Could Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs bounce back in a big way after their last-second loss to the Ravens? Well, sure. And that probably will happen. But the Chiefs will have more enticing games on the schedule than the 1-1 Chargers, who still are loaded with talent and big-play ability.
Tennessee Titans (-5.5, -240)
Opponent: vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Titans looked much better in their Week 2 win than they did in a lopsided season-opening loss. And while the Colts have yet to claim their first win, Indianapolis has opened with a tough slate that includes the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams. The Colts will be hungry to get their first win, and Tennessee has been very inconsistent through two weeks.
New England Patriots (-3, -155)
Opponent: vs. New Orleans Saints
The Mac Jones hype train isn’t slowing down any time soon, but we just can’t be overly confident with the Patriots after they faced less-than-average competition the first two weeks. New England could start clicking on all cylinders come October, but for now, we’re staying away from the home favorite.
Honorable mention: (-1.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams