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. lekalatch
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Which two of these would you have on a Wildcard:
    A) Jesus
    B) Werner
    C) Son

    Currently on A och B

    1. Chilli Heatwave
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      B C

    2. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      BC

    3. the dom 1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      BC

    4. DD
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A and B

    5. J ⚒ Salah & Vinagre
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      AB

    6. Sgt Frank Drebin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A and C maybe. I'm not selling Werner but if I were on wildcard I think I would prefer Jesus. He's a proven asset and only another run of xG underperformance can't stop him from scoring points in FPL

    7. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      BC

    8. noquarternt
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      AC

    9. Sloopy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      AB

  2. tokara
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Mitro or wood?

    1. Chilli Heatwave
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Wood if have the funds

    2. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Wood

    3. Mesh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Tough choice. I'm going Mitro because of the price difference.

  3. Mesh
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Is Justin likely to keep his spot when Pereira is back?
    If not, how many more games is he expected to play?

    1. Chilli Heatwave
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      No he is not, reckon he will be fine till the international break

    2. tokara
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Justin was weak agst Wood last game, go see replay. Justin was flung away by Wood lol

  4. AC Yew
    • 2 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    My defence is:
    TAA Davies Egan Saiss Ferguson.

    Need to get rid of both Davies and Egan ( combined total of 10Mill). Best 2 replacements.

    1. Chilli Heatwave
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      James & Lamptey

      1. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Yep this one, or Dier

  5. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Kane, Salah or KDB as captain?

  6. sergioaguero67
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Keep or sell Bruno Fernandes?

    Remaining midfield

    Sterling Salah Son Alzate

    Wanted to bring in Daniel Podence instead because of the fixtures
    Please help.

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Soucek

      1. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        5 months, 11 days ago

        You love the bloke

        1. The Knights Template
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          7ft3

  7. estheblessed
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    WC played. How's it looking...

    McCarthey / Nyland
    TAA, Lamptey, Mitchell / Justin, Dunne
    KDB, Salah, Son, Podence / Anguissa
    DCL, Ings, Jiminez

    1. Mesh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Defence too weak in my opinion

    2. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Justin to Saiss, dy downgrading Ings or Podence.

      Not keen on McCarthy and dunne. Rest is good.

      1. estheblessed
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        I definitely am top heavy. I feel like that front 3 could score lots...

    3. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Arise, Sir Estheblessed!

      1. estheblessed
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Haha, thanks!

  8. Jon Walter's Hatty
    • 7 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    I've done every possible WC draft bar a KDB-less one....

    1. Chilli Heatwave
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      KDB to sterling, sorted 😉

      1. Jon Walter's Hatty
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        I already had him in a double up lol.

    2. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      You should post every single one of them, asking for our thoughts, and possibly presenting us with an A or B option.

      1. Jon Walter's Hatty
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        I will post 10-12 RMT's...one should get me that knighthood...

    3. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      For a reason

    4. Sterling Archer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      no City presser scheduled either, so guess we just have to hope some news is released, he was distorted on the pitch, could easily have a slight concussion!

  9. money face bandwagon
    • 7 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Haha the house money effect are more for fpl begineers

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Who has big ears?

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        The golliwogs?

        1. The Knights Template
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          I think he's having a go at Prince Charles.

      2. Jon Walter's Hatty
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Why have elephants got big ears?

        Cause Noddy wouldn't pay the ransom...

        1. The Knights Template
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Indian elephants have smaller ears than African ones, and therefore can not fly.

          1. Andy_Social
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            But can two carry a coconut between them?

            1. Better off with a pin and a…
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              Not with the social distancing restrictions.

  10. Ninjaa
    • 10 Years
    5 months, 11 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. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      You missed the Auba to KDB boat. Can try raheem railway instead.

      Egan and ASM need to be sorted

    2. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Prefer A or B Sir Madfincha, don't make me do all the work.

  11. yousunkmybattleship
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Keep flip flopping...

    A) James + Rodriguez
    B) Robertson + Podence?

    Already have TAA, Jimenez.

    1. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A then

    2. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A for you

    3. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A

  12. LewanGOALski
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    (C) choice is difficult for the bery first time this season.

    Who’d you cap out of those 3 picks?

    1) Salah - home form always favours him.
    I am not sure how to read Arsenal defence under Arteta - whether it actually improved or not, it’s different view on that every game in my opinion.

    2) Werner - WBA defensive stats against favours him by a mile. He might be due, but still not really impressed by Chelsea side. Maybe Havertz great game last night will improve the whole team and boost these guys..?

    3) Sterling - LEI defence doesn’t convince me at all, especially now when there are is no JEvans nor Ndidi now. MCI always goes for goals and Sterling will be hungry after his fellow attackers - Jesus and Kev - have already scored theirs

    Thoughts..?

    1. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 11 days ago

      I think I’d gamble on sterling

    2. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      1 or 3.. probably 1

    3. Sgt Frank Drebin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      I agree on 1. Hard to judge to Arsenal's defence for me. On one hand stats say they didn't really improve much and on the other hand when I watch them they seem much more solid defensively. I am a stats guy and don't trust my own eyes so I'm captaining Salah though.

    4. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Apologies, was not able to bear with you.

  13. BrutalLogiC
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    A) Werner/Burke
    B) Jim/Podence

    1. L'Aeroplanino
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      B if 7th att

      1. BrutalLogiC
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        it would be 3-5-2 in both options... bench is lamp/mitchell

  14. You've got red on you.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Morning 🙂

    a) TAA + Mitrovic + Son (Burke sub)

    b) Robertson + Foden + Son (Burke sub)

    c) TAA + Podence + Werner (Brewster sub)

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A

    2. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A

  15. NABIL - I had 4 Spurs GW1
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Not seeing Doherty and Dier nowadays.

    Imagine Spurs getting a clean sheet.. 🙂

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      They were lost in the template wars of gw2. Vale.

  16. pundit of punts
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    RMWCT

    Martinez - Button
    Saiss - Taylor - Lamptey - KWP - Mitchell
    Salah - KDB - Son - Podence - Burke
    Werner - Jimenez - Ings

    Next gw Werner > Jesus

    Around gw 6Jesus + KWP > Maupay + TAA and rotate the cheap striker spot based on fixtures.

    Anyone better than Burke and KWP at that price? Not entirely happy with them.

    Thanks in advance. 🙂

    1. Konstaapeli
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      I'd pick one of the Burnley boys before KWP

      1. Konstaapeli
        • 4 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Scrap that. Just noticed Taylor.

  17. Nigawan
    • 4 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Hey guys, which combo is better?

    a) Mccarthy + James + Jorginho
    b) Ryan + KWP + Klich

    Current squad
    Mccarthy - 4.0
    Saïss- Castagne-Dunne- Mitchel-********
    KDB- Son- Salah- Anguissa- ****
    Wener-Jiminez-DCL

  18. Ajax Hamsterdam
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Would you get foden on wc ? Thanks

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Why not?

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Rotation.

        But his value could be gold

        1. The Knights Template
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Take a punt

  19. Flynny
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Wildcarders - still including kdb despite his head knock??

    Guess he starts od doesn't feature at all.

    Thanks

    1. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Hasn't seen any reports which suggest he would miss

    2. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Yeh, unless we get news he's out for 3 weeks, it makes no difference to me.

    3. Jon Walter's Hatty
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      True but would not be over the moon with 11.5 on the bench

  20. Jon Walter's Hatty
    • 7 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Just checked Lewis Cook's WC draft....no KDB....

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      hmmmmmmm

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

      Don't know who Lewis Cook is but Salah, Sterling and Jesus (but no KdB) wouldn't be the end of the world in my current draft

  21. kysersosa
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Coleman or Kean?

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Mustard

  22. Foresting
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 11 days ago

    I've used my FT to swap Aub for KDB

    My team is now looking...

    McCarthy/Steer

    TAA Robbo Ayling James Vinagre
    Soucek JRod KDB Salah ASM
    Werner Adams Davis

    The question is, hold for another week or WC now???

    Thanks for reading.

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Hold

      1. Foresting
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Thanks

    2. money face bandwagon
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      you should try to save your wildcard as long as your team is not in shattered condition. Template changes every few gws, just be patient

      1. Foresting
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Cheers

  23. RedWolf
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    I'm in a pickle here.

    I really want Werner as I've got no Chelsea cover. In order to facilitate this I'm having to play a 4.5m defender or midfielder.

    Alternatively I could just go without Chelsea and have Ings and someone like Podence.

    The logic says the latter will be miles better, but my heart says I'll regret no Werner if he hauls

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Werner Werner Werner!

    2. money face bandwagon
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Choose the latter as u should already have enough captaincy option.

  24. Whats the Mata?
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Best defenders in the 5m range apart from Saiss and Reece James?

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

      Coleman seems very under the radar

    2. seewhyaxe
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Coady, Keane are some alternatives

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        These 2 altho' Lamptey is better.

    3. The Handsome Hunk
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Keane

  25. The Handsome Hunk
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    On WC: How does it looks? In future, Havertz to possibly any (Pulisic/Ziyech/Greenwood)

    Martinez
    TAA, Saiss, James/Keane
    Salah, KDB, Barnes, Havertz, Foden
    DCL, Jiminez

    Bench Forster, Lamptey, Brewster, Mitchell

    1. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      V nice

    2. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A handsome team for sure

      1. The Handsome Hunk
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Thanks. Am I missing any beautiful pick?

        1. The Knights Template
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Werner is a handsome chap, until he opens his mouth. Bit like Beckham.

  26. Herman Toothrot
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    A. TAA, Salah and Foden
    B. Robbo, Sterling and Barnes + 0.5

    1. Herman Toothrot
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      B. Can be TAA over Robbo

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        A

  27. Sgt Frank Drebin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    I didn't know about that house money effect, interesting read. Do you know some other biases like this (apart from some obvious ones)?

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Yes, moral license. Like when you survive a brutal crossfit session then reward youself with a Chiko Roll afterwards.

  28. Dignefied
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Wildcard:

      Guaita

      TAA Saiss Lamptey

      Salah KDB Rodríguez Foden Podence

      Werner Jiménez

      Bench: Forster Mitchell Dunne Brewster

      1. THEKID_88
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Like it

        1. THEKID_88
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Actually bench could do with some upgrading

    • the dom 1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      How would you fit Lamptey in this back line?

      VVD, Saiss, Justin, Mitchell, KWP?

      KWP fixtures look great except for GW5 v CHE

      Lamptey have Man U and EVE next 2GW's then CRY/WBA.

      Thoughts?

      1. The Handsome Hunk
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Justin to Lamptey easy

        1. the dom 1
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Nah wanna keep Justin until i have to sell him, good enabler at present.

      2. The Knights Template
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Kwp out

        1. the dom 1
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Thats my dilemma, KWP or Lamptey

    • Riggs
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Robbo and DCL or Wood and TAA for next 5?

      1. The Handsome Hunk
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Robbo/DCL

      2. The Knights Template
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        First one