The calm after the week 10 storm was week 11.  The popular picks all won and those who survived week 10 have most likely moved on to week 12. This week we find a few options that most people haven’t used thus far and this can actually cause an interesting week if some of these “weaker” teams get upset. 

Looking for our usual home team favorites by 7 or more points we only find two such teams, the Browns and the Saints.  Cleveland comes off its dominant win over the Steelers and finds them 10.5-point favorites over the Dolphins.  There has been turmoil due to the Myles Garrett incident and this could be a distraction that can make the game closer than expected.  Is this the Browns team that everyone thought it would be in the preseason?  Baker Mayfield should have a good game targeting both LSU alumni in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.  There are few surviving pool players that have used the Browns so they will definitely be a chalky pick this week.  I’d be more worried if this were on the road, but at home, Cleveland should come out ahead.

The Saints are 9.5-point favorites at home against the Panthers who looked awful last week.  The Saints got on track against the Bucs in Tampa after their surprising loss to the Falcons.  Kyle Allen looked like a backup quarterback last week and not the heir apparent to Cam Newton ’s job.  The Saints defense is formidable but may be without Marshon Lattimore for another week. He did not participate in practice on Wednesday and is questionable for Sunday’s game.  The Falcons defense had five sacks and four interceptions against the Panthers last week. Expect the Saints to put similar pressure on Allen. Calvin Ridley had a big game and Julio Jones finished with six catches for 91 yards.  A huge game for the NFL’s leader in receptions, Michael Thomas , could be in the works. It’s a divisional game, so you never know, but this game may just put the Panthers’ playoff hopes to rest.

Having limited options 11 weeks into the season and with a big bye week, let’s look at some of the other games that can keep you alive in your pools.  Pittsburgh is a 6.5-point road favorite over the winless Bengals. Looking at the Bengals opponent is a must each week. Again it’s a divisional game, but the Bengals are just not any good. The Steelers are looking to bounce back after their loss and shenanigans with the Browns. Maybe Mason Rudolph got some sense knocked into him and won’t make as many bad decisions but he probably won’t have JuJu Smith-Schuster to throw to as he is still suffering from the concussion he sustained early in the game. With James Conner also iffy, this puts a strain on the Steelers’ offense. Pittsburgh should win this game, but they won’t be a super popular pick. They’re an option and this week they have the highest chance of winning any of their remaining games at 73%. 

The Patriots are also 6.5-point favorites at home against the Cowboys.  Most have taken the Pats already so they probably aren’t an option. Can the Cowboys upset them? It’s possible as the Pats defense against the run hasn’t been great and the Cowboys have Zeke to feed the ball to. If I still have New England available, I’m saving them until week 15 against the Bengals.

About 5% of those remaining in the Yahoo pool are picking the Bears who are six-point favorites over the Giants at home. Mitch Trubisky practiced today, but is designated as day-to-day.  Did Nagy finally have enough and removed him towards the end of the game last week due to performance or did he really hurt his hip? If Chase Daniel ends up playing, I’d fade this game. 

Look at who you have remaining to pick from and try to map out a plan for the rest of the season. This week’s options include the Browns, Saints, Steelers, Patriots, and Bears.  The Browns are the best bet, but you can make the case for any of them. I’ve already taken the Steelers and Patriots leaving me with the Browns, Saints and Bears to pick from. This is the last week the Bears are a viable option, but with the questions surrounding Trubisky, I am not taking the chance if I’m still in it. The Browns have the Bengals at home in two weeks and I will save them for that game.  My play would be the Saints.  Who Dat!