Welcome to the 2017 Eliminator Challenge. For those not familiar, it is a free game on ESPN.com in which you pick one NFL team each week to win its matchup. Your team wins, you move on to next week. Your team loses, you're out. There's only one catch: You can pick each team only once.
To determine the best picks each week, I lean heavily upon ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). For more on how FPI is calculated, click here and here. I also look at the pick percentages for each team on the ESPN Eliminator Challenge page to see which teams the majority of fans are picking. While the chalkiest picks are usually among the best ones, sometimes there is value in fading them and hoping a high percentage of your pool is eliminated.
Week 1 is always one of the most difficult weeks. Last season, over 26 percent of Eliminator Challenge participants were knocked out in Week 1. Even though every team is available, it's still too early to know exactly which teams are improved and which have regressed. And the schedule does us no favors.