Welcome to the pinnacle of gridiron fantasy games!
The beauty of Eliminator Challenge lies in its simplicity: every week you're asked to pick the winner of one NFL game straight up. If the team you choose prevails, then you advance! The only caveat is you can only use a team ONCE during the season, and so the strategic intricacies emerge.
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Do you map out the entire schedule ahead of time, assuming the teams you feel are strong at the start of the season can remain that way for all 17 weeks? Do you take the biggest favorite every week and hope to consistently survive the dreaded upset? Perhaps you save an elite team for a juicy matchup down the road and rely on one that's less favorable to carry you through.
For instance, Carolina is sure to be a sizeable Week 2 home-favorite over San Francisco, but burning a potential Super Bowl caliber team that early might be playing it too safe for your taste.
As is always the case in the NFL, nothing comes easy. It's usually the matchup you overlook that gets the better of you, and if that happens your season is over. That's right: if you lose even once you're out. While potentially devastating in its abruptness, the challenge of having to survive and advance each and every week is what makes this game so fun to play.
No matter the strategy, there's sure to be a time when you're sitting on the edge of your seat wondering why you decided to stake your entire season on a team that's now losing in the 4th Quarter. It's inevitable, but if you survive there's sure to be another week when you're in the clear and good percentage of your competitors are facing a similar situation.
At first glance it might seem as though you can leave all of your NFL player-based knowledge and spread savvy at the door for this one, but you'll need all of that and more to succeed here - and quite possibly a bit of luck as well.
If you need more help, ESPN.com has all the tools you need to make the right decisions, week after week:
NFL Pick Center : ESPN Insiders can look at two different simulation models to get an idea of how every NFL game will play out each week.
NFL Power Rankings: Who are the best teams in the league? Consult the power rankings, a weekly poll of some of the best writers in the business.
ESPN Chalk: Comprehensive betting coverage, including best bets for every NFL game.