The historical list of winners on Survivor consists of a motley crue of players with distinct personality and gameplay. There is one particular method of gameplay (edited or reality) which seems to correlate with the success of more than 90 percent of the winners. Being a significant member (upper half) of the premerge majority alliance is almost a prerequisite for a player to even have a chance at the win.
Rich - leader of the Tagi 4
Tina - Top 3 of Okagor 5.
Ethan - Top 3 of Boran alliance
Vecepia - never at the bottom of majority alliance
Brian - leader of Chuay Gahn
Jenna - Top 3 of Jaburu and Nu-Jaburu alliance.
Sandra - Top 3 of Drake 5
Amber - Top 3 of Chapera 6
Chris - Top 3 of Fat Five, Top 3 of Chris' Angels Alliance
Tom - Top 3 of Koror 5
Danni - always in the middle of majority alliance
Aras - Top 3 of Casaya 6
Yul - leader of Aitu 4
Earl - leader of his alliances and sub-alliances
Todd - leader of Fei Long 6
Parvati - Top 3 of Favorite 5, Top 3 of Black Widow Brigade
Bob - bottom of Onion alliance, no alliance after merge
JT - Top 3 of Jalapao, Top 3 of Warrior Alliance
Natalie - Top 3 of Foa Foa 4 plus Shambo
Sandra - Top 3 of original Villain 6
Fabio - minoroty alliance pre-merge, minority alliance after merge
Rob - leader of Ometepe 6
Sophie - Top 3 of Upolu 6
Kim - leader of Salani 7, female 6
* Rich, Brian, Yul, Earl, Todd, Rob and Kim are considered "leaders" because they were in complete control over their alliance's strategy and their decisions were never met with much, if any resistance. These players came up with every plan and made the final call on the majority vote. These are the Type A winners. Every other winner was in the majority sub-alliance of the pre-merge majority alliance and often the majority sub-alliance of the post merge majority alliance. Danni and Vecepia were part of the post-merge minority (due to tribe failure) but eventually worked themselves into the majority. Sandra and Jenna were betrayed post merge but luckily their main opponents (flippers JFP and Rob C) made critical mistakes and beat themselves.
Only Bob and Fabio have gone through the game of Survivor without any strategy. Fabio was part of 2 minority alliances and Bob either had no alliance or was being used as a sheep by the Onion alliance. How should the editors portray these unique winners? They both had to win immunity multiple times in succession to get to the F3 despite their lack of physical superiority. These guys weren't obvious challenge demons who kept winning on pure athleticism or (in Fabio's case) intelligence. Neither guy ever betrayed any tribe member but that was only due to the fact they played the strategic game so poorly they were never included on any of the plans. Both won 4-3-0 final votes against one universally hated player and one polarizing player.
How can another winner like Bob/Fabio be detected in the future? Is there a pattern for a player who has no ability or interest in playing the strategic/social game? Bob's one strategic attempt was failing to swing over Kenny and Crystal at the F7, just like Fabio failed trying to swing over Sash at the F7. Their games were nearly identical but what about the edits? Bob was OTTP for the premiere and merge. Fabio was similarly OTT for the premiere and started to become MOR/CP post merge. For all of their goofy behavior and lack of strategic ability, neither player was ever given an N toned rating. Instead they were both given heavy P ratings by the late merge, which should be alarming when you consider their lack of effective gameplay.
I think the pattern for a Fabio/Bob type winner is this -- Random pre-merge (not heavily OTT or INV) with positive tone or no tone. Significant increase in MOR/CP post merge with consistent positive tone and higher visibility. This also means that no one should ever be edgically eliminated pre-merge unless they are given a heavy N or OTT rating, or if a male is given an extreme lack of visibility.