Do you like picking the outcomes of professional football games?
Do you like a free shot at trying to win at $100,000?
Have we got a game for you. While thousands have learned to love the fun that is Yahoo’s annual survival football contest, this year promises to be the best edition yet.
That’s because whoever is left standing at the end of the season will split a total of $100,000 (official rules here). If you’ve never tried out the low-commitment fun of survival football, this is the year to do it.
If you’ve never played before? Don’t worry. Here are the basics (and they are basic):
• Each week, you’ll pick one team and only one team to win. If that team wins, you advance to the next week. If it loses or ties, you are eliminated.
• You can only pick a team once per season. That means only so many weeks feeling safe with teams like the Patriots or Steelers and more rolling the dice with middle of the road squads the rest of the season.
• If you enter our $100K contest, you’ll have to pick TWO teams to survive each week from Weeks 14-17. (Hey, we have to whittle down the field somehow.)
And that’s it. If you can understand those three easy points, you can play survival football. There are no point spreads to cover, no lineups to set, no waiver wire to scour. It’s arguably the most perfect way to inject a little juice into your weekly football watching.
Just pick a team once a week and that’s it, you’re done. It’s a fantasy game you can play with your entire family or office without everyone needing to know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ depth chart or selecting the outcomes of all 16 games for a confidence pool.
That said, the beauty of survival football is that it’s more complex than it seems on the surface. The strategy involved can keep you waffling all week as you decide which team provides the safest path to the next Sunday.
• For instance, should you burn a team like the Patriots early or “save” them for later?
• If a lion’s share of entries are selecting a heavy favorite, should you pick another team and avoid the giant bloodletting an upset would bring (leaving you still alive in the process)?
• Should you ever break the wide belief that it’s unwise to pick a road team, a divisional matchup or a team coming off a Monday night appearance?
Whatever you decide, there’s just one simple rule to abide by, one that should dictate each and every pick.
Survive and advance.
And make no mistake: You will feel like you’ve survived. For each easy blowout-by-halftime you pick, there will be three nail-biting games that will have you writhing each time the score pops up on the crawl or you check it on the app.
The losses will stick with you. I can still remember swearing a blue streak in 2008 when it became apparent that Donovan McNabb didn’t know NFL games could end in a tie. Not only did I know ties were possible, I knew they also counted as a loss in survival pools. After 10 straight weeks of successful picks, my year died because of a 13-13 tie between the Eagles and Bengals.
On the flip side, you’ll be surprised at how happy you can be when a kicker from a team you don’t normally support nails a game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expires, saving your hide at the last possible moment.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Yahoo Sports Survival Football, enter our $100K contest and get ready to start surviving and thriving. If you’d like to dig deeper, I write a weekly survival advice column here on Roto Arcade and have plenty of fun talking survival strategy with players on my Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to follow and we’ll start analyzing the schedule grid before the first kickoff even arrives.
Survival time will be here before you know it.