Survival Pool Advice: The Dolphins' first win could pay off

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Resources: Yahoo survival pool pick
Week 2’s biggest killer: Lions losing to Titans (8.01 percent)
Week 2’s biggest winner: Panthers beating 49ers (36.73)
Total Week 1 eliminations: 17.88 percent
My picks: Week 1Seattle (W) Week 2 — Detroit (L)

The risk was obvious when I started writing this survival pool advice column on Roto Arcade this season. At some point, I would provide some bad counsel and end up leading a lot of players (plus myself) to elimination. Then I’d have to come right back and convince the rest of you who got this far without my help that it was worth listening to my advice.

I just didn’t think I’d be doing it after week 2.

I felt good about that Detroit Lions pick. I really did. And if you told me the Titans only scored 16 points and Matthew Stafford only threw one interception, I’d make the same one again.

Now if you also told me the game would be marred with almost 30 penalties and Andre Johnson would return to the land of the living and catch the game-winning touchdown? Well … I probably would’ve remembered they were the Detroit Lions and incapable of having nice things and just went with the safest pick (Carolina).

These things happen in survival pools, though, which is what makes it so frustrating and so alluring at the same time. It’s the ultimate way to walk a tight rope each NFL season. And every time you fall, the urge is to get right back up and try it again … only you have to wait an entire year for another chance.

Full disclosure: I have multiple entries in various survival pools that I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. Two-thirds of my entries went down with Detroit, but losing in the first two weeks meant I was entered in a consolation pool so I’m still plenty invested in picking right the rest of the way.

Let’s look at three games of interest to survivors heading into week 3.

Safe pick: Miami Dolphins over Cleveland Browns
It’s not often you pick a winless team in survivor. But there’s going to be a decently-sized group heading into Week 3 having done that three straight weeks: Whatever team they selected in Week 1, Carolina or Arizona in Week 2 and now the Dolphins in Week 3. The Dolphins don’t have the pedigree of the two teams that played in last year’s NFC title game, but you don’t really need one when playing the Browns. Cleveland is on its third quarterback of the season in rookie Cody Kessler and don’t figure to do much in south Florida. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are playing their first home game of the season and didn’t completely embarrass themselves over a tough two-game road swing to Seattle and New England. There’s some concern over the Dolphins offense and Arian Foster is a longshot to play against the Browns. But 42 percent of Yahoo users felt comfortable enough with Miami to pick them by Wednesday night and you really shouldn’t worry too much if you fall in line. The only reason to avoid them is a pretty cushy home schedule as Tennessee (Week 5), Buffalo (Week 7) and San Francisco (Week 12) all come calling by the end of November.

Sneaky play: Dallas Cowboys over Chicago Bears
If you watched the Bears deteriorate against Philadelphia on Monday night, you likely had one thought: Chicago is going to be a prime team to pick against in survival this season. Unfortunately they play the AFC South this year so there’s no real prime non-conference games left, but they’re the type of team I’m probably not going to hesitate picking against in division games on the road. Or against this Cowboys team that is coming off a road win against Washington and should be able to easily outscore a Bears offense that will be without Jay Cutler (and wasn’t even that good with him, anyway). Maybe there’s some danger here of Brian Hoyer having his one good game per season, but not enough if you want to avoid the line of lemmings that are going with the Dolphins and go another route.

(By the way, the second most frequent pick this week is going with the Arizona Cardinals on the road against the Buffalo Bills. I’m normally not a huge fan of picking road games, but if you’re going to pick a team flying cross-country, you could do a lot worse than a Cardinals team heading to face Rex Ryan in his final season as a head coach.)

Stay away: Seattle Seahawks over San Francisco 49ers
Seattle scared the heck out of all who picked them in Week 1 before pulling out a close one against the Dolphins. Then they eliminated all who picked them on the road against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2. What’s the rush with the 6 percent of users who are picking them in Week 3? Let’s give Russell and Co. a little more time to figure things out before we put our trust back in them.

My pick: Miami over Cleveland
The lowly Browns play four of their next five games on the road with the lone home game being the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. Don’t be surprised if I pick their opponent in each of them.

Which pick are you going with? Let us know in the comments below!

A Miami Dolphins fan is seen outside of CenturyLink Field before the start of an NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
A Miami Dolphins fan is seen outside of CenturyLink Field before the start of an NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)