Pro Pundit Teams

Loss aversion and why we hold on to underperforming players in FPL

In my previous article, I discussed the difficulties we often find in transferring out players who have been performing well, even when it might appear beneficial for us to do so. 

However, sometimes we hold on to players too long even when they’re not doing well. This article is the Part One of a two-piece series that will consider the possible causes for that behaviour and how we might overcome them to make better transfer decisions.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is a cognitive bias in humans that describes our tendency to fear losses more than we value gains. Specifically, scientific studies have shown that we fear losses approximately twice as much as we value gains. 

This probably explains why we’re reluctant to take hits on players who are unlikely to ‘explode’, but it also goes some way to explaining why we hold on to underperforming players too long.

Arguably the number one source of anxiety among Fantasy managers comes from transferring a player out who you suspect might suddenly start scoring, something that always seems to happen. 

The hundreds of thousands of managers who transferred Timo Werner (£9.3m) out ahead of his two goals and assist in Gameweek 5 can probably relate to this feeling. It is, essentially, a feeling of points lost. Because we anticipate this feeling, we fail to act as a result.

Warped Reality

In reality, players we transfer out probably don’t score nearly as often as we think, we just remember the instances when they do, thus mentally inflating their frequency. It also doesn’t necessarily become a bad action to have removed a previously underperforming player, just because that player suddenly decides to start scoring that Gameweek.

While it might feel like this kind of thing is a matter of luck, one of the key skill elements of FPL is identifying the contextual factors that influence whether a player will score or not. 

Taking Werner as an example again, he had been previously playing out of position on the left wing and a move to the central striker position seemingly improved his prospects. However, he was also playing against a Southampton team who played a high defensive line, something that suits pacy players like Werner. 

Therefore, if either or both of these conditions are removed, it’s possible that Werner will go back to underperforming. The skill, therefore, is figuring out what conditions are important to the prospects of a player, and whether they will be consistently present.

If the conditions that contributed to a player’s sudden change in form are not sustainable, managers who transferred them out should not lose sleep over their decision, particularly if it enabled a move to an alternative with better long-term prospects. The spectre of this occurring should also not deter a manager from making a move if it makes objective sense based on whatever standards they employ to make their decisions.

It’s not because of you

Most importantly, although it might feel like it, a player did not start scoring because you transferred them out. That kind of ‘magical thinking’ can quickly sabotage a Fantasy manager’s season as it removes logic and objectivity and puts events firmly into the hands of chance. 

Stick to your trusted methods and, if they happen to fail you one Gameweek, console yourself with the knowledge that it absolutely, definitely, happens to everyone.

In Part Two, I’ll be discussing the ‘Endowment Effect’, coffee mugs, and why we sometimes prefer our low performers to others’ high performers.

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1,687 Comments Post a Comment
  1. THEKID_88
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Barnes to Rashford or Grealish for free?

    1. linkafu
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Rash

    2. Camino Aleatorio
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 5 days ago

      Trashford is tempting, getting lots of shots and playing Center Forward.

      Depends on your options. If Grealish allows you upgrade another MF player, that could change the equation

      If Kepa had played goal this week, MU would have won 4-0 and everybody would be piling into Bruno-Rashford and whoever else scored Vs Chelsea.

  2. Will J 256
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Convince me to captain Kane over salah! Ha ha

    1. ivantys
      • 1 Year
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Sheffield's defence is better than Burnley's

      1. Will J 256
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        11 months, 8 days ago

        Thanks!

      2. Rover
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        11 months, 8 days ago

        But surely it isn't?

        1. ivantys
          • 1 Year
          11 months, 8 days ago

          Bad enough that newcastle could score 3.

    2. Rolls-Royce
      • 7 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Cba

    3. TheDragon
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Why?

    4. TB303
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Kane is on fire. Salah is just being Salah

  3. Ronnies
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Play 1 of;

    A) Brewster - away to Liverpool

    B) Justin - away to Arsenal

    C) Bissouma - home to West Brom

    Cheers.

    1. Will J 256
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      11 months, 8 days ago

      I think I would take a punt on Bissouma!

    2. Aussie Rules
      • 9 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      C

    3. Traction Engine Foot
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      C

    4. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      C

    5. linkafu
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      A

  4. BurnMyBread
    • 1 Year
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Barnes to Grealish or roll and get in Pulisic next week?

    1. BilalM
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Both options look good.
      But if you are in a good positions rank wise, you can roll and get Pulisic next week

      1. BurnMyBread
        • 1 Year
        11 months, 8 days ago

        Trouble is that because of the Hames knock, my midfield for this week will be Sterling - Salah - Barnes which isn't very inspiring.

    2. Champione
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      tempted to do it myself

  5. The Happy One
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Bottomed.. Current squad with £0.1 itb and 2 FT:

    McCarthy
    TAA - KWP - Saiss
    Salah (C) - Rashford - Foden - Zaha
    Mitrovic - Werner - Jimenez
    _____________________________
    Martin -- ASM - Dier - Justin

    Thinking Rashford --> Son... any better way to spend my 1 FT (or both)? Cheers

    1. TB303
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Mitro can go next week

  6. TheDragon
    • 3 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Does anyone in the FPL community have any inside info / contacts any more.

    No one has any useful info / insight at all on

    A) Rodriguez mystery injury
    B) Whether Mitchell is likely to start / PVA match fitness

    Sort it out people!

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Gap in the market......go for it 😉

  7. trimpos
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Martinez (Steer)
    Robbo Saiss Michell (Justin Dunne)
    Bruno Sterling Barnes Podence Hames(bought for 7.5)
    DCL Kane (Bamford)

    1FT 1.4ITB

    A) bench hames- play Bamford no transfer
    B) Tranfer Hames for barcley/grealish
    C) transfer barnes for barcley/grealish & A)
    D) any other

    1. Killitzer
      • 11 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      A.

    2. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      roll the transfer and sort your bench out next week

      1. Will J 256
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        11 months, 8 days ago

        This

    3. Garth Marenghi
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Not bv

      1. Garth Marenghi
        • 5 Years
        11 months, 8 days ago

        Not b

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

    Martinez
    TAA Robertson Lamptey
    Sterling Son Barnes Foden Trossard
    Kane (C) DCL

    Button Brewster James Dunne, 1 FT, 1.1 ITB

    A) Sterling > Salah (C)
    B) Barnes > Grealish
    C) Both for -4

    1. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      D roll your transfer

      1. Champione
        • 5 Years
        11 months, 8 days ago

        cheers

    2. Traction Engine Foot
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      B

    3. TB303
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Stick to Kane (C) in any case no?

      1. Champione
        • 5 Years
        11 months, 8 days ago

        think i prefer Salah if I own both

    4. xHaTr
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      A

  9. unitednations
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Best option for this gw and beyond

    A: Barnes (ars) + KDB (shu) + Jimmy (NEW) with Kilman 1st sub
    B: Barkley (LEE) + KDB (shu) + Jimmy (NEW) with R.James 1st sub
    C: Barnes (ars) + Havertz (mun) + Kane (bur) with R.James 1st sub

    1. Champione
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      B

    2. BilalM
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      B

  10. BilalM
    • 5 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Transfer out Zaha for?

    A:. Rashford / Penandes
    B: Sterling (already have Foden)
    C: Pulisic/Havertz
    D: Do nothing

    Rest of team is:
    Martinez
    Lamptey/Mitchell/Robbo/Saiss/Justin
    Salah/Son/Foden/Burke/Zaha
    DCL/Jimenez/Watkins

    1. JS27
      • 11 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Definitely got to keep Zaha for the Fulham game at least

    2. Killitzer
      • 11 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Why not get Grealish or Barkley? If neither than do nothing.

      1. BilalM
        • 5 Years
        11 months, 8 days ago

        Thought of it. But I already have Watkins

  11. Killitzer
    • 11 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Afternoon all

    I’ve made on FT to bring in Barkley this week and wonder if I should take a hit to bring in DCL for Mitrovic. Given the article I should probably hang on one more week but I also have that lemon Vinagre in the team.

    McCarthy Steer
    Mitchell TTA Justin Vinagre KWP
    Salah Rodriguez Barkley Bissouma Son
    Kane Ings Mitro

    1. Leave
    2. Mitro ➡️ DCL (-4)
    3. Vinagre ➡️ Saiss (-4)

    Thanks for any input.

    1. BilalM
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      2.

  12. Gizzachance
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    thoughts? play
    A mitchell
    B dallas
    C kwp
    cheers

    1. TB303
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      B

      1. Gizzachance
        • 6 Years
        11 months, 8 days ago

        Cheers

  13. Fantasy 11
    • 8 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    What should I do below ? Thanks

    McC
    TAA Mitchell Justin
    Salah Son Soucek Bruno
    Jimenez Kane DCL

    Holding Bissouma Fergie

    A) Save
    B) Holding to Targett
    C) Jimenez and Bruno to Kun and Mahrez
    D) others

  14. Gandalf
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Which do you prefer for the next 4 gameweeks in isolation:

    A. Chilwell (mun, bur, SHU, new)
    B. Konsa/Mings (LEE, SOU, ars, BHA)
    C. Reguilion (bur, BHA, wba)

    Don't have Martinez if it makes a difference

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

      Man city at home for Reguilion's 4th fixture

  15. ChilliBoi
    • 4 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Surprised no one is taking much about Zaha vs Fulham.... any reason? he should get a bunch of goals against them

    1. BilalM
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 8 days ago

      Was wondering the same. Was the fact that Palace had 0 shots on target against Brighton make people look elsewhere

  16. Lucas World Conquest
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Salah on the C!

  17. King Kohli
    • 8 Years
    11 months, 8 days ago

    Those who are without Kane & Son like me, do you plan to get them in next week or look for differential options like Chelsea assets who have good fixtures?

  18. Tripleh123
    • 1 Year
    11 months, 8 days ago

    GTG?

    Martinez
    Robbo Saiss Lamptey
    Salah(c) Son(vc) Grealish Zaha
    DCL Ings Jimenez

    Need advice.Choose between
    1)Lamptey,stick
    2)Taylor
    3)Mitchell