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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2,796 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Cynical
    • 4 Years
    5 months, 4 days ago

    A. Guaita and Foden
    B. Martinez and Zaha/Barnes

    1. kysersosa
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 4 days ago

      B

    2. Daniel - WC Active
      • 11 Years
      5 months, 4 days ago

      Guaita and Zaha/Barnes

      1. Pep Roulette
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        And you solved his problem!

        1. Daniel - WC Active
          • 11 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          He should downgrade somewhere else. Those 0.5m are surely worth imo

  2. Gnu
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    5 months, 4 days ago

    How many still haven't wildcarded?

    1. kysersosa
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 4 days ago

      We, but regretting it. I think I could of taken a -4 and been happy.

      1. Gnu
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Holding off for another to see but it does seem contagious!

        1. DAZZ
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          A lot seem to be selling Werner, but as Son proved, a lot can change in one week

          1. Gnu
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Yep, I've got the scar to prove it.

          2. doher.ty
              5 months, 4 days ago

              Sell Werner at 9.5 buy at 9.4 easy

      2. DAZZ
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        A lot seem to be using it around here.

      3. Galza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        I’m holding mine.

        Too many options to choose from at present and I’m not confident enough to pick the right ones just yet...

        1. Gnu
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          That's it in a nutshell, too much choice.

      4. Bobby Reds
        • 10 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Aye man

        1. Gnu
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Not on my own then, good.

    2. kysersosa
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 4 days ago

      G2G?

      Ryan
      Keane, TAA, Saiss
      KDB, Bruno, Son, Podence
      Wood, (w)erner, Jimenez

      Nyland, Taylor, Mitchell, Romeu

      Plan will be Son and Bruno to Salah and 7.5 mid in GW6.

      TIA

      1. That Was Easy!
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        It’s a nice team. I’d go Anguissa personally for the cheap mid spot.

        Like the Ryan pick, would prefer him over Martinez if I wasn’t going Lamptey. Your plan seems all well and good, just not confident on planning 2 transfers. One is sensible.

        1. kysersosa
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Thanks. Lamptey to Taylor is an option, double Brighton could work out great, never really going to be a disaster. Agree, I don’t like planning a double transfer. Another option is to go Greenwood over Bruno or Son to Rodriguez and have money ITB.

          1. That Was Easy!
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            For me, while there’s certainly less upside, this showcases why it might just be important to go Salah from the off. Throw in an injury or some spots loss and you’ll need to sacrifice bringing him in or not fixing the holes in your squad.

            For me that means going with Salah from the off and foregoing Son, but his appeal surely is there!

      2. Daniel - WC Active
        • 11 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Why selling Son when the fixtures are still great

        1. Daniel - WC Active
          • 11 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          ?

        2. kysersosa
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          That is a good point. I have to find a way to bring Salah in for the 2 home games. Maybe I can take money from the front line.

    3. Ninjaa
      • 10 Years
      5 months, 4 days ago

      Current team
      McCarthy Nyland
      TAA Egan Davies Justin Ferguson
      Salah Aubameyang JWP ASM Reed
      Werner Vardy Adams

      Agreed it ain't going well so far.
      2fts this gw. What should my 2 priority transfers be this week to start improving this lot? Thanks..

      1. doher.ty
          5 months, 4 days ago

          I would be tempted to WC tbh - McC, Egan, Davies, Auba, JWP, ASM and imho Adamn would go.

          With 2 ft - Auba to KDB or Sterling and Egan out for James?

      2. Flair
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Delap goal, gorgeous Foden assist. Absolutely killing the game right now

      3. That Was Easy!
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Going to go with Grealish as a 1 week punt in place of Barnes. Feels right.

      4. Flair
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Foden getting into plenty of offensive positions, even more advanced than Mahrez at times

        1. The Handsome Hunk
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Foden would be secure to start weekend? Mahrez also playing. Is Torres is threat ?

          1. Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            5 months, 4 days ago

            We never know but I'm confident he'll start, especially if he's taken off early. Torres not a threat.

      5. Daniel - WC Active
        • 11 Years
        5 months, 4 days ago

        Watching the Tottenham game, Alli looks unfit

        1. doher.ty
            5 months, 4 days ago

            true

        2. Kuzser
          • 3 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Which combo on a WC guys?
          1) 3-5-2: Son Zaha Podence (Brewster)
          2) 3-4-3: Foden Barnes - Jiménez (Alzate)
          3) 3-4-3: Son Podence - Wood (Alzate)
          4) 3-4-3: Podence Foden - Jesus (Alzate)

          Martinez 4.0
          TAA Saiss Taylor (Justin Mitchell)
          KdB Salah XXX XXX XXX
          Dcl Werner XXX

          1. chilli con kone
            • 7 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            3

        3. Daniel - WC Active
          • 11 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Spurs concedes a screamer... Davies looks to me that will become a bench player

          1. Daniel - WC Active
            • 11 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Basically he didnt react and left the space open. I am not sure that Jose will forget that

          2. The Handsome Hunk
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Would he be playing at weekend?

            1. Daniel - WC Active
              • 11 Years
              5 months, 4 days ago

              I dont know. If I was an owner I would have been worried

        4. The Red Devil
          • 5 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          How's this WC team?
          Ryan
          VVD James saiss
          Salah Kdb Son Zaha
          DCL Werner Mitrovic

          Steele Dunne Mitchell anguissa
          0.3 ITB

          1. Daniel - WC Active
            • 11 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Template

        5. unitednations
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Super confused on this

          A: Salah + Foden + Robbo
          B: Salah + Son + 4.5m def
          C: Sterling + Son + 5m def

          Already have Kdb if that makes a diff

          1. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            A

          2. chilli con kone
            • 7 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            A

          3. You've got red on you.
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            A

          4. Livinginapool - Top 100 Any…
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            A

        6. You've got red on you.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          WC opinions.

          Narrowed it down:

          a) Podence + Werner

          b) Son + Mitrovic

          1. That Was Easy!
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            About as close as I’ve ever seen it. I think I’d go A.

          2. chilli con kone
            • 7 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            B

          3. dunas_dog
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            a)

          4. That Was Easy!
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            What do ya think here? Final questions on my WC.

            1) Ryan/Martinez or Guatia/Mendy (know I’d likely miss a game here)...have .7 itb I’m happy to spend on a 5.0 keeper
            2) Wood vs Foden. May hinge on if Foden gets hauled off early.
            1) 1 week placeholder for Barnes = Hamez, Zaha, Grealish, Mount

            1. You've got red on you.
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              5 months, 4 days ago

              1) Ryan

              2) Foden (although I've not got the minerals

              3) Hamez

          5. The Red Devil
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            B

        7. chilli con kone
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 4 days ago

          Probably been asked a few times already but...

          Auba > Kevin -4?

          1. doher.ty
              5 months, 4 days ago

              I would want Kevin a minus 4 is tough tho as Auba is going to play. I would say yes.

          2. Alexis Nonsense
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Play one:

            A) Ayling (Leeds leaky it seems, but ha attacking potential)

            B) Dunne (I fear Ings)

            1. chilli con kone
              • 7 Years
              5 months, 4 days ago

              A

          3. tabby98
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Should i WC?

            Mccarthy, (Nyland)
            TAA, James, KWP, Justin, (Mitchell)
            Salah, Auba, ASM, Bruno (Stephens)
            Werner, DCL, (Davis)

            1. chilli con kone
              • 7 Years
              5 months, 4 days ago

              No

            2. Sanchit
              • 5 Years
              5 months, 4 days ago

              Just Auba to KdB and you're good to go

          4. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 4 days ago

            Is Son potentially a trap?
            I'm considering to take him in instead of Fernandes as part of a double hit.

            1. doher.ty
                5 months, 4 days ago

                How is Son a trap? He gets a good return every year, he's no Zaha or Willian

                1. stat sifter 888888
                    5 months, 4 days ago

                    So much competition for those positions now, Mourinho is unpredictable with his attacking players on top of that and Son has been questioned before for his defensive contributions.

                    1. doher.ty
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        Stop - He's nailed when fit. Just looking for a reason to not own him which is fine, but he's not a trap.

                        1. stat sifter 888888
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            Stop- people would have said the same with Alli before... Bale/Moura/Bergwijn/Lamela are all established and credible options. Son has been the attacker questioned the most about defensive contributions after Alli and Mourinho is hardly short of decent options in those positions.

                            1. Teahupo'o
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 9 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              This is absurd. Son is nailed. Alli hasn't been for a long time, whether under Poch or Mourinho.

                            2. popey
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 2 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              are Moura, Bergwijn and Lamela actually credible optionsto replace Son though? I would say no chance

                            3. Sonaldo Nazario
                              • 5 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              Most absurd thing I have heard in a while.

                      • IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 4 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        Mourinho... Turning me of a little bit.

                        1. Ajax Hamsterdam
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          trap might be a big word but i prioritise jimmy and werner over him, cant have them all

                        2. doher.ty
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            Thats fair - his tactics aren't known for being very attacking but Son will tick along like he does most years. Thats not to say that better options won't emerge but he's worth it when they have good fixture me think.

                            1. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 4 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              Thank you! Probably getting him in.

                      • Jon Walter's Hatty
                        • 7 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        4 goal trap...I'd like to fall into it

                        1. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 4 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          When you put it like that, hah!

                    2. Labile
                      • 2 Years
                      5 months, 4 days ago

                      Reguillon? Chillwell?

                      Anyone interested?

                      1. chilli con kone
                        • 7 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        Has Reg been priced?

                        1. doher.ty
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            5.5

                        2. Ajax Hamsterdam
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          Semedo for me

                          1. Pep Roulette
                            • 3 Years
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            This

                        3. KayArch
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          Is chilwell nailed !

                      2. gonzalocampos
                        • 5 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        On WC, what do you think about this plan:

                        Team A (Son to Sterling GW4 for free) - Son play United / Sterling play Leeds
                        Martinez
                        VVD - James - Saiss
                        KDB - Salah - Son - Podence
                        Bamford - DCL - Jimenez

                        Team B (Keep Werner and change to Jimenez to save 1.2M)
                        Martinez
                        TAA - James - Saiss
                        KDB - Salah - Son - Podence
                        Bamford - DCL - Werner

                      3. Ginkapo FPL
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 9 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        This is why I intentionally start badly every year

                      4. davewg59
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 4 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        Ignoring the price......
                        Castagne or Saiss?

                        1. The Red Devil
                          • 5 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          Saiss
                          Better CS chances

                        2. Ajax Hamsterdam
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          ndidi injured so saiss

                        3. Iceball
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          Saiss for now

                        4. Zim0
                          • 2 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          Saiss has better fixtures

                      5. The White Pele
                        • 3 Years
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        Anyone going with Mendy as GK?
                        (have James).

                      6. Will J 256
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        5 months, 4 days ago

                        Which three do you prefer?
                        Son
                        Calvert-Lewin
                        Taylor

                        Greenwood
                        Richarlison
                        R James

                        1. You've got red on you.
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 8 Years
                          5 months, 4 days ago

                          I think the second lot

                        2. doher.ty
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            B if you think greenwood gets minus and you have a bench if he doesn't otherwise A

                          • stat sifter 888888
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              James over Taylor and DCL over Richi (even as a current Richi owner) and whoever in midfield.

                              1. Will J 256
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                5 months, 4 days ago

                                Thanks mate!!

                          • Ajax Hamsterdam
                            • 6 Years
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            thoughts on ollie watkins ? mitrovic a better option ? thanks

                          • Iceball
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 6 Years
                            5 months, 4 days ago

                            How is Mahrez playing? Good enough to play rather than Foden? Or 1/2 of games as they did end of last season.

                            1. doher.ty
                                5 months, 4 days ago

                                Either way they are both likely to be a rotation risk. I wouldn't go near them, way to unpredictable.

                              • Flair
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                5 months, 4 days ago

                                Foden is the best player on the pitch, running the game. Mahrez not that involved.

                                1. Karan14
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  • 4 Years
                                  5 months, 4 days ago

                                  What position is he playing?

                                  1. Daniel - WC Active
                                    • 11 Years
                                    5 months, 4 days ago

                                    Mahrez plays CAM

                                  2. Flair
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    5 months, 4 days ago

                                    Not entirely sure, RCM with freedom to roam to the left is what I'm seeing. Getting very advanced, higher than Mahrez at times.

                                    1. Karan14
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      • 4 Years
                                      5 months, 4 days ago

                                      Sounds promising. Let's hope he gets subbed early and starts on the weekend.

                            2. Dr Van Nostrand
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 5 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              4 nil already for Liverpool over stinking Lincoln

                            3. The Red Devil
                              • 5 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              WC team-
                              Ryan
                              VVD James saiss
                              Salah Kdb Son Zaha
                              DCL Werner Mitrovic

                              Steele Dunne Mitchell anguissa
                              0.3 ITB

                            4. finnish92
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 3 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              James Rodriguez or Harvey Barnes? (longterm)

                            5. KGFC
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 4 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              Guys, any update on Marcal injury?

                              If he is out, does that make Vinagre an option??

                              1. Daniel - WC Active
                                • 11 Years
                                5 months, 4 days ago

                                Tomorrow

                                1. KGFC
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  • 4 Years
                                  5 months, 4 days ago

                                  Thanks

                            6. Daniel - WC Active
                              • 11 Years
                              5 months, 4 days ago

                              Son scores. Some lad above said he is a trap. Oh my