An eliminator challenge, such as the one put on by ESPN, is a simple premise: Pick one team per week to win. You can't repeat teams.
Unfortunately, while the premise is simple, the execution is difficult.
Week 1: San Diego Chargers
Week 2: New York Giants
Week 3: Dallas Cowboys
Week 4: Green Bay Packers
Fifty percent of people on ESPN who have selected their picks so far this week have selected the New York Giants to defeat the Seattle Seahawks at the Meadowlands. The Giants are coming off a four-point victory over the 1-3 Arizona Cardinals on the road and are riding a three-game win streak into this home contest. Overall, this seems like a strong pick. Going with the herd would be a safe bet here, but what's fun about that?
I picked the Giants in Week 2, so they're out for me. I would love to be able to pick a weaker team this week in a home matchup, but nothing is sticking out. Could I trust the Jacksonville Jaguars to defend their home turf against the Bengals? I want to.
Who are you picking for Eliminator in Week 5?
Instead, I'll play it relatively safe this week by going with the New Orleans Saints on the road versus the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton has been impressive this year, but the Saints and Drew Brees always play well within their division.
In Week 7, the Saints will be playing the Colts, which might be considered an easier win for the Saints than what could turn into a shootout in Carolina. So if you're willing to take a chance on a team like the Jaguars this week, you could be rewarded in the long run.
Still, next week presents several opportunities to go with a weaker team, so I don't feel too bad about using the Saints here. In Week 6, the Bengals are at home against the Colts and the Bears will be hosting the Minnesota Vikings. Depending on how these 2-2 teams look this week, it might be a good opportunity to use them for a win.
My Week 5 Pick: New Orleans Saints