17. Jonny FairPlay (Pearl Islands, Micronesia)
Even casual fans of the show who tend to forget players after a few years know who Jonny FairPlay is. He was one of the most interesting characters on his initial season of Pearl Islands – a season FILLED with interesting characters – and his legacy is the famous dead grandma lie.
As much as people want to hate on FairPlay doing that, it worked! He got the reward and no one got hurt in the process of that happening. It was truly brilliant and proves that FairPlay was a new school player trapped in an old school season.
While it was a bummer that he essentially quit on Micronesia, the fact that he was the swing vote at the favorites’ first tribal council is a testament to how good of a player he is. His Survivor legacy is still going strong even nearly a decade later.
16. Rob Cesternino (Amazon, All-Stars)
Rob Cesternino should be MUCH higher on this list because he invented the style of play that’s so common these days. He was the original strategist and was the king of cutting people out of his alliance when he no longer had any use for them.
Rob was constantly running the show in the Amazon and is always considered one of the best to never win the game. It’s a crime that Rob hasn’t come back to play since he was taken out pre-merge in All-Stars, but we haven’t been completely robbed of his thoughts, as he hosts an incredible podcast (Rob Has a Podcast – Check it out if you haven’t already).
Hopefully Rob returns again someday, but if not, we should be thankful for him playing a huge part in how Survivor is played today.