Pro Pundits - Simon

The House’s Money: Why maintaining a good start to the FPL season is so difficult

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

  • Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

Dickens may not have been speaking specifically about the opening Gameweeks of an FPL season (we’ll never know for sure) but his words are, nonetheless, fairly appropriate. While it has, indeed, been a tale of two Gameweeks thus far, there will be some who have done far, far better than others.

I love the start of a new FPL campaign as much as the next Fantasy manager but, I have to admit, it’s also among the most challenging parts to navigate successfully. Not only are we operating with very little information, but many of us also have to deal with the fact that some mini-league rivals have, somehow, already opened up what might appear to be unassailable leads.

Of course, this is the part of the season where we regularly preach patience and encourage people to avoid panic-driven decisions that they might later regret. Phrases like ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ are commonplace on FPL forums and we might also comfort ourselves with our vague childhood memories of a story about a race between a tortoise and a hare.

This article, however, will focus on why those people who have shot to the front probably won’t stay there, and why those chasing shouldn’t panic, yet.

The House Money Effect

Gamblers and investors, in particular, may be familiar with the ‘House Money Effect’, a cognitive bias first popularised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler. 

Essentially, the House Money Effect draws off the principles of ‘mental accounting’; the idea that we categorise money and expenditures into different accounts in our mind, and we evaluate outcomes in relation to these. 

So, for example, we might have mental accounts such as ‘beer money’, ‘college funds’ or ‘holiday money.’

The House Money Effect often occurs when we receive money in an atypical manner. For example; winning a bet, receiving a bonus or profiting from an investment. 

Behavioural psychologists have observed that people take far greater risks with such sums than they would with their savings or regular earnings. They also find that people also tend to be more generous with such windfalls than they might otherwise be.

The proposed reason for this phenomenon is that, psychologically, people don’t perceive these sums to really be their money, it goes into a completely different mental account to money earned in the normal way. It’s the casinos or ‘the house’s money’ and, thus, we tend to treat it that way. At best, we make more money from the risks we take with it. And at worst, we end up with our original stake, no better or worse off than we were before and, because we think we’ll be okay with either outcome, we’re inclined to treat it as fun money.

I would argue that, due to their windfall of FPL points, Fantasy managers who do very well in the opening few Gameweeks are substantially more at risk of succumbing to the House Money Effect than normal. 

This might translate into them spending some of those points via hits, making riskier transfers, making transfers when it might have been objectively more sensible to save them or simply being less rigorous in their selections, captaincy or transfer decisions. 

Now, this isn’t to say that high-flying managers simply got there by luck, much in same as an investor doesn’t profit entirely by luck, it’s simply stating that, due to this cognitive bias, the extra points they have scored may seem like ‘house money’ to them, and they’re likely to be more inclined to risk them as a result. 

Essentially; if they blow their lead, they’re no worse off than their competitors and this, mentally, becomes their baseline.

How Spurs and Everton's new signings fared in their FPL Gameweek 1 debuts 1

There is some evidence that may support this having already occurred too. Between Gameweeks 1 and 2, the average number of points spent on transfers via hits by FPL managers was 2.28 points overall but, among the Top 10k, this rose almost 20% to 2.72. 

Rationally-speaking, the Top 10k should have had less cause to make any transfers, let alone take hits, based on Gameweek 1 but, instead, they made more transfers and spent more points on them. 

The Top 10k also scored fewer gross points on average than the overall (53.27 vs 59.55). Naturally, in a single gameweek, this could simply be luck, but it could also be a result of less rigorous decision-making caused by the House Money Effect.

So, for those chasing, the key lessons from this are to not panic, to not make the same mistakes that the people above you probably will, and to take advantage of these mistakes to close the gap. That means avoiding hits, risky captaincies and panic moves like Wildcarding unnecessarily. 

It is worth bearing in mind that many of those who held firm with their Gameweek 1 squad profited as a result in Gameweek 2. As Guns ‘n’ Roses singer Axl Rose once said, “All we need is a little patience” though, again, it’s unclear whether he was talking about FPL specifically.

Naturally, there is also a fairly obvious lesson in all of this for those FPL managers who are doing really well after two Gameweeks, which I suppose I could spell out, but, honestly, who really wants to help those people anyway?

My Gameweek 3 Team


Former Fantasy Premier League world champion and four-time finisher in the top 7k Simon March gives us the lowdown on his thinking for the new campaign.

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2,795 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Coley
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    Morning all. Stuck on another pairing to cover Chelsea (fixture) and Everton (form). The choices are :

    Rodriguez and Werner (like the article), or
    Havertz and DCL

    I feel like Chelsea are overdue decent points from these two (Havertz finding the net midweek).

    Seems tight and flipping a coin may be just as productive?

    1. Konstaapeli
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Rodriguez + Werner without a doubt.

      1. RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        24 days, 14 hours ago

        This

      2. Hotdogs for Tea
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        24 days, 13 hours ago

        not the two players who each scored hatties in the last outing ?

      3. In and Out
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        24 days, 13 hours ago

        Agreed

    2. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      24 days, 13 hours ago

      i will have all four

    3. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
      • 11 Years
      24 days, 10 hours ago

      Did not read article yet but I like James Rod and Werner. Because I think Ilike the other options 9.5m and down/a little up in the forwards easy switch. Would keep James Rodriguez all year.

      Depends on how you want your team structured until next WC

  2. Konstaapeli
    • 4 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    Who'd you pick for the medium term...

    1) Dunne or Mitchell or Ferguson?

    2) Zaha or Foden

    3) James or Saiss

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Mitchell, Zaha and Saiss

      1. Konstaapeli
        • 4 Years
        24 days, 14 hours ago

        Thanks. Those are the one's I got atm.

  3. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    Even though he’s out this week, would you still get Bissouma over Anguissa on WC?

    1. The Handsome Hunk
      • 5 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Yes. He is nailed after Stephens leaving for Burnley now.

  4. ChickenTikkaMoSalah
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    captain KDB or Salah?

    1. The Knights Template
      • 6 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Either

      1. HM2
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        24 days, 14 hours ago

        even if i already have DCL? Slightly put off by the Everton double up

        1. HM2
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          24 days, 14 hours ago

          reply fail

  5. HM2
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    a) Hamez/VVD
    b) Wood/TAA

    1. The Knights Template
      • 6 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      A

  6. The Handsome Hunk
    • 5 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    On WC:

    Jesus + Podence

    or

    Jiminez + Foden

    1. The Knights Template
      • 6 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      B

    2. Konstaapeli
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Easy B

  7. mattyrobinson
    • 10 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    Long term who gets more minutes between Foden and Podence?

    1. Konstaapeli
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Just have to wait and see. Both great value if even semi nailed.

      1. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
        • 11 Years
        24 days, 10 hours ago

        'Semi nailed' sounds painful sort of like how Jesus feels...
        😀

    2. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Are minutes more important than points?

    3. pundit of punts
      • 7 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Podence

    4. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      24 days, 13 hours ago

      no one can tell you that

  8. skodaole2
    • 8 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    Took one hit at the beginning of the week Auba + Rash -> Son + James R. Plan is next week to do Son + Watkins -> Sterling + Jimenez (-4). Would you take any more hits this week or gtg?

    McCarthy
    Castagne Reece J. Dier
    Son(vc) James R. Salah Pereira
    Kane (C) Mitrovic Watkins

    5.1 itb, Martinez Justin Reed Targett

    1. Goonsquad245
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      I don’t get why you’ve taken the ones you have, especially since you’re now thinking of selling Son for a hit next week?

      1. skodaole2
        • 8 Years
        24 days, 14 hours ago

        Took a hit since i believe they will outscore the first ones by more than 4 pts, expect Son to continue his form. Plus it was more than certain that they would take a few rises (and Auba a drop)so maybe i can gain value there which will be handy through the season. Next week we ll see, have those moves in mind but usually original plan changes, didnt expect to get any of those two one week ago

        1. Goonsquad245
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          24 days, 14 hours ago

          I’d do Rodríguez to KDB for a hit, or Watkins to Jesus, or Dier to TAA

          1. Hotdogs for Tea
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            24 days, 13 hours ago

            KDB maybe out !

    2. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      24 days, 13 hours ago

      gtg - no problem with hits if you think the move will get you more points.

      I will take a hit to bring in Chelsea this week and probably take a hit to sell them next week to bring in City & Ings

    3. Scotters333
      • 3 Years
      24 days, 10 hours ago

      Putting a player in for a hit to then take him out the following week for a hit is mental. That's already 8 points gone. Even if he hauls both weeks someone else with average points scores the same

  9. n14mul
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    Morning,

    Alot of noise about kdb taking a knock...is there anything concrete about it?

  10. foreverton
    • 7 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    My wildcard misses out by 0.1.

    But if I go Salah > Mane it works....

    Is Mane on par with Salah?

    1. pundit of punts
      • 7 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      What’s the team like?

      1. foreverton
        • 7 Years
        24 days, 14 hours ago

        Ryan, 4.0

        Digne, Coady, Lamptey, VVD, Dunne

        Mane, KDB, Son, J.Rod, 4.5

        Richarlison, Jiminez, 4.5

        1. pundit of punts
          • 7 Years
          24 days, 14 hours ago

          Only 6 attackers?

          1. foreverton
            • 7 Years
            24 days, 14 hours ago

            Can't see any

        2. Hotdogs for Tea
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          24 days, 13 hours ago

          surely your 4.0 & 4.5 have names ?

    2. Konstaapeli
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Can easily match him for sure. Don't think there's much between the two.

  11. pundit of punts
    • 7 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    A. Best 4.5m mid to get on WC?

    B. Best 4.5m defender to get on WC? ( not Taylor or Lamptey)

    1. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      24 days, 14 hours ago

      Burke ?
      Lamptey ?

      1. pundit of punts
        • 7 Years
        24 days, 14 hours ago

        Can’t be Lamptey?

        Is Burke nailed? Lot of competition for his position.

        1. Ajax Hamsterdam
          • 6 Years
          24 days, 14 hours ago

          Lascelles maybe ? Tough one .

  12. You've got red on you.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    24 days, 14 hours ago

    G2G?

    Martinez
    TAA - Saiss - Lamptey
    KDB - Salah - Son - Rodriguez
    Jimenez - Mitrovic - Calvert-Lewin

    Steer - Bissouma - Mitchell - Dunne

    1. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      24 days, 13 hours ago

      looks like a WC template team, so yes gtg

  13. Hotdogs for Tea
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    24 days, 13 hours ago

    what are KDB owners doing ? holding or selling ? 🙂

    1. Tinkermania
      • 1 Year
      24 days, 13 hours ago

      Silly to sell when he might just miss 1 match, if at all.

      1. Hotdogs for Tea
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        24 days, 13 hours ago

        well it’s maybe Havertz v WBA or play 4.5 mid bencher ... depends if your strategy is to get as many points as possible each week 😉

  14. Hotdogs for Tea
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    24 days, 13 hours ago

    Upside chasing or calm planning, which describes you and what are you doing ?

    A - getting the best players against the weakest teams each week and no premium player is safe or permanent in your team
    B - Playing safe, holding Salah, KdB & Bruno Fernandes no matter what and planning for 6 week segments of the season

    1. Christina.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      24 days, 13 hours ago

      Doing my best to switch to A this season.

      1. Hotdogs for Tea
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        24 days, 13 hours ago

        me too, need to line up the top FPL players against WBA & Fulham, or the leaky Leeds defence and maybe Villa too.

        Fernandes v Fulham or Salah v Spurs ? ... I know who I would want for that one-off game

    2. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
      • 11 Years
      24 days, 10 hours ago

      Mixture of the two when and if required.

  15. AshtonJ
    • 3 Years
    24 days, 13 hours ago

    Thoughts on this all out attack w/c. Any further suggestions on the defence? Don’t really want to change the front 8:

    Martínez Nyland
    Saiss Lamptey Mitchell Dunne Ferguson
    Son KdB (c) Salah JRod Burke
    Werner Jimi DCL

  16. Shaw Manc Redemption
    • 4 Years
    24 days, 13 hours ago

    1 FT left and 0.5 ITB. Avoiding WC for now.

    A. McCarthy > Martinez
    B. Mitro > Wood
    C. Save

    Thanks all

  17. WeakAssTeam
    24 days, 12 hours ago

    considering the large amount of bespoke articles on this site i would recommend your website designer enable [font-smoothing]

  18. FALSE PROFIT
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    24 days, 12 hours ago

    Living in South Africa I have the pleasure of seeing every PL game. The eye test still rules for me and if I can avoid the noise on social media, I do quite well. I thought I could write a couple of sentences on each match about team and individual performances.
    Everton 5 West Brom 2: A lot to talk about. Don't think Everton were so good; they weren't. Richarlison and Periera the stand out players.

    Leeds 4 Fulham 3. Good to watch but not sustainable. Outside the Obvious Klich not only on pens but a good player too. I looks like Areola a top keeper, besides the score.

    ManU 1 Palace 3. I cannot believe the fall from grace for ManU who were burning it up. Seems Zaha wants a move. Hopefully on pens now too.

    Arsenal 2 Hammers 1: Unfair scoreline. I would not be rushing to Arsenal assets. I must say Antonio could bully any defense though.

    Soton 2 Spurs 5: You would have to be brain dead not to see the Soton high line did not work. Defenders too slow. Ings still showing class and Son or Kane a worthwhile captain in games where teams don't use a low block.

    Newcastle 0 Brighton 3: No 1 Lamptey; never seen anything like that 45 minute performance. If Trossard stays in that position, Maupay will score a lot more than last year. Anyone on ASM, get off him now; even for a hit.

    Chelsea 0 Pool 2: Raving about Pool seems odd to me: A disjointed Chelsea playing with 10 men and no Keeper would have lost to Newcastle. Obviously impressed with Mane and Robbo. TAA is not up to speed. Save the .5

    Leicester 4 Burnley 2: Burnley in disarray without their centre backs. I would steer clear of Leicester defense too. I doubt if Castagne and Justin will sustain their points. Barnes however looks like a gem at his price and getting a full 90 minutes.

    Villa 1 Shef Utd 0: What a difference a goalkeeper makes; at both ends of the field. For me both sides have the most inept attacking forces in the division. For an extra .5 rotate Martinez with Ryan or Aeeola.

    Wolves 1 Citeh 3: Obvious KDB world class and can be a perma cap. Prodence coming to the fore and you could get awy with him and Klich to enable big hitters.

    Conclusion: Just fill your teams with penalty takers and you won't go far wrong.

    1. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
      • 11 Years
      24 days, 10 hours ago

      Agree with most, except keeper rotation rarely works well. Keepers can get lots of save points anyway

      1. FALSE PROFIT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        24 days, 10 hours ago

        I never rotate keepers but there are very few competent 4.5's. It is an unusual piece of advice from me.

        1. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
          • 11 Years
          24 days, 9 hours ago

          Beware false profits/prophets 😀

          1. FALSE PROFIT
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            24 days, 9 hours ago

            So you note the slight on it. (smile) I thought it appropriate for FPL banter and football in general.

            1. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
              • 11 Years
              24 days, 8 hours ago

              I enjoy that name alright. Sums up the forum and fpl world!

              1. FALSE PROFIT
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                24 days, 8 hours ago

                And you are the first to notice. Typical.

  19. Guyand
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    24 days, 4 hours ago

    A question please...

    KDB will go up in value by 0.1m tonight ... I intend to acquire him tomorrow.

    Is it worth a 4 point hit to get him prior to price rise of 0.1m?

    Interested to hear your thoughts.

  20. Taff
    • 11 Years
    23 days, 23 hours ago

    Massively conflicted this GW as a Son picker and Werner dropper and Chelsea fan. I feel like a right traitor.

    1. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      23 days, 23 hours ago

      very hard to go past Son right now
      can switch later if needed