It's a marathon, not a sprint -- and wouldn't you know it, we are already into bye-week season. In Week 3, the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins improved to 3-0, the New Orleans Saints re-asserted their pre-2012 Sean Payton dominance, the New York Giants were thoroughly embarrassed and the Cleveland Browns proved they are not trying to tank this season, despite the surprising Trent Richardson trade.
The Browns' win over the Minnesota Vikings is a great example of the beauty of Eliminator pools. Minnesota was the second-most picked team last week, selected by 17.4 percent of all people in ESPN pools, but Brian Hoyer and the Browns surprised everyone.
The biggest story, though, may be the San Francisco 49ers getting trounced for a second week in a row, this time by Indianapolis. The Colts, who just acquired the aforementioned Richardson, own the top rushing attack in the league in terms of total efficiency added. In fact, they have added 20 points that a league-average offense would not have scored. The 49ers, on the other hand, currently rank below average in terms of efficiency in all four major categories (passing offense, rushing offense, passing defense and rushing defense). As a team, San Francisco has scored 11 fewer points than a league-average offense would score in similar situations. One of those two teams makes a better pick than the other in Week 4, as we explore the smart picks to help you stay alive.
Each week, Insider will use numberFire's predictive modeling to help you survive and advance in your Eliminator pool. To do this, we look both at our projections and where the masses are likely leaning with their weekly picks in order to maximize your chances at winning your pool. For a more detailed look at our process, you can refer back to our previous articles this season.
To help you visualize your path forward, below you'll find our Eliminator threat matrix that shows you how each team projects each week based on our model. It will be updated each week as results come in over the course of the season. The color-coded cells showcase three key bits of info:
Green: Our win-maximizing pick of the week.
Red: This is the consensus pick by you, the players in ESPN's Eliminator Challenge game.
Brown: The max method. This finds the best matchup of the year and works backward to maximize total win percentage throughout the season.