Last Updated: Feb 25, 2011 1:27 PM
It's no easy task to select one winner every week in the NFL without using the same team twice. Which is why I was astonished to learn that not one but TWO of our loyal members actually accomplished this difficult task. That's right, two people tied the FFChamps Survivor Pool this season. Both Fran K. and Dino R. were spot on all season. In fact they were so accurate with their picks, we couldn't declare one single winner since both of them not only got every pick right during the regular season, but also selected correctly in the playoffs and both picked the Packers to win the Super Bowl. It was a pleasure speaking with both of these die-hard fans about their journey to SURVIVE...
FFChamps: How does it feel to be crowned the Survivor Pool Champion?
Dino: Fantastic! – I finally survived through a whole season!
Fran: It is a very rewarding feeling. I have a sense of accomplishment, having made the correct pick each week of the regular season, through the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Also, congratulations to DR from NJ for being the Co-Champion. I thought I would be the only one to pick the Packers!
FFChamps: Have you played in a Survivor Pool Before? If so what is the attraction? If not, what made you decide to play this year?
Dino: I have played in survivor pools over the last 6 or 7 years. I am attracted to the “do or die” aspect of the survivor pool format.
Fran: This is my first experience playing in a Survivor Pool. I knew about them, but this was my first opportunity to play in one. I read the rules and eligibility requirements and felt confident that I could do well.
FFChamps: What were some of your strategies?
Dino: Believe it or not my first strategy was to review the entire 2010 NFL schedule that Fantasy Football Champs provides and choose a couple of games each week that I felt I had a clear cut winner. This strategy gave me a road map of picks that I revised as the season progressed and it became clearer who were the stronger teams and who were the weaker teams. I also tried to pick all home teams – I believe the only road team I chose all year was Atlanta at Carolina in week 14.
Fran: I tried to make the best pick each week without looking ahead or attempting to plan for future weeks. The first thing I looked for was a perennial power playing at home against an inferior opponent. Around mid-season, I focused on teams that were having good seasons and trying to position themselves for a playoff run, while continuing to focus on home teams playing weaker opponents. Looking back, I realize I picked home teams all 17 weeks of the regular season.
FFChamps: Were there any teams you wanted to avoid picking?
Dino: I avoided picking weak teams such as Carolina, Buffalo, Denver, Cincinnati and Arizona. I also avoided picking inconsistent teams such as Miami, Houston, Dallas, Washington, St. Louis, Seattle and San Francisco.
Fran: I tried to avoid mid-level teams that were up one week and down the next, teams struggling with their identity, and teams piling up key injuries. I was also wary of the better teams that I had remaining to pick from that were facing potential "Trap Games".
FFChamps: Any teams you consistently bet against?
Dino: Early in the year I consistently picked against Buffalo but soon realized that I had to change my strategy after Buffalo almost beat both Baltimore and Kansas City on the road. In the second half of the year I went against Carolina as often as I could. Surprisingly I never used 2 playoff teams – Chicago and my beloved NY Jets.
Fran: As well as weaker road teams, I wanted to go after teams that were unstable at Quarterback. I went after the Bills 3 times early, but after a close call in week 7, I left them alone. I went against the Raiders twice when they had to make the road trip to the East Coast. I attacked the Broncos twice late in the season after it became clear they were going nowhere. The Panthers were my go-to team, though - I went after them 4 times.
FFChamps: At what point in the season did it start to get difficult picking teams?
Dino: I would say it got very difficult for me beginning with week 12 – I actually took Cleveland that week who was home against Carolina and got lucky because Jon Kasay (who is extremely accurate) missed a potential game winning field goal as time expired. Weeks 15 and 17 were tough since I needed to depend on Oakland (home vs. Denver) and Detroit (home vs. Minnesota) to come through for me and both did.
Fran: The first 6 weeks I felt fairly comfortable. After a week 7 scare, it became more difficult trying to find one team that I felt most comfortable with. After week 16, when I realized there were only 4 survivors remaining, I really felt the pressure to pick a winner. The Super Bowl posed a difficult decision - I looked at that game for eleven days before deciding to go with the Packers, whom I felt were the riskier pick.
FFChamps: Do you plan on defending your title in 2011?
Dino: Absolutely – I will try to defend my title in 2011 and defy the odds! Thank you Fantasy Football Champs for running the contest.
Fran: I fully intend to return and defend my Championship. I feel I have a sound strategy and am confident I can do well again. I just hope the NFL gets it together so we have football next season. I had fun this season and am looking forward to playing Start 'Em Once, Weekly Salary Cap Challenge, and REPEATING as SURVIVOR POOL CHAMPION!! Have a great off-season everybody - see ya in September.
FFChamps: Congratulations to both of you.