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
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Barnes to Rashford or Grealish for free?

    1. linkafu
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Rash

    2. El Niño Yanqui
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 6 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 month, 9 days ago

    Convince me to captain Kane over salah! Ha ha

    1. ivantys
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Sheffield's defence is better than Burnley's

        1. Will J 256
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Thanks!

        2. Rover
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          But surely it isn't?

          1. ivantys
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Bad enough that newcastle could score 3.

        3. Rolls-Royce
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Cba

        4. TheDragon
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Why?

        5. TB303
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Kane is on fire. Salah is just being Salah

      • Ronnies
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 9 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 month, 9 days ago

          I think I would take a punt on Bissouma!

        2. Aussie Rules
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          C

        3. Traction Engine Foot
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          C

        4. waltzingmatildas
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          C

        5. linkafu
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 9 days ago

          A

      • BurnMyBread
          1 month, 9 days ago

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

          1. BilalM
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 9 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 month, 9 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
              1 month, 9 days ago

              tempted to do it myself

          2. The Happy One
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            1 month, 9 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
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Mitro can go next week

          3. TheDragon
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 9 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
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

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

          4. trimpos
              1 month, 9 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
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                A.

              2. Hotdogs for Tea
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                roll the transfer and sort your bench out next week

                1. Will J 256
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  This

              3. Garth Marenghi
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Not bv

                1. Garth Marenghi
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  Not b

            • Champione
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 9 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
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                D roll your transfer

                1. Champione
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  cheers

              2. Traction Engine Foot
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                B

              3. TB303
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Stick to Kane (C) in any case no?

                1. Champione
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  think i prefer Salah if I own both

              4. xHaTr
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                A

            • unitednations
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 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
                1 month, 9 days ago

                B

              2. BilalM
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                B

            • BilalM
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 9 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
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Definitely got to keep Zaha for the Fulham game at least

              2. Killitzer
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

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

                1. BilalM
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  Thought of it. But I already have Watkins

            • Killitzer
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 9 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
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                2.

            • kopite65
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              thoughts? play
              A mitchell
              B dallas
              C kwp
              cheers

              1. TB303
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                B

                1. kopite65
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  Cheers

            • Fantasy 11
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 9 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

            • Gandalf
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 9 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
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Man city at home for Reguilion's 4th fixture

            • ChilliBoi
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 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
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

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

            • Lucas World Conquest
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Salah on the C!

            • King Kohli
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 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?

            • Tripleh123
                1 month, 9 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