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. BellyKlopp
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Which move would you favour?
    A) Auba --> Sterling (play Mitchell/Taylor)
    B) Davies --> Reguilon

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      A easy

    2. The Head-Ake
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      A

  2. JAYPEE
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Who would you get rid of for Kane? Jiminez or Ings?

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Jimenez

    2. Reyson
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Jimmy, ings will still score against everton i feel.
      Jimmy i think wont do quite well this season.

  3. Corgzzzz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Morning Guys...........So with Hamez out injured ( I will still play ) who is first on my bench ??

    A, Brewster. ( away to LFC, and home coming v old club )
    B. Struijk ( away to Villa and already have Dallas )
    C, KWP ( home to weaken Everton )

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Probably KWP

  4. ludaslol
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Martinez
    Lamptey Robbo TAA
    Salah Son Foden Podence
    Jimi Ings DCL

    2.6 itb.1 ft
    Mitchell, Furgesson, Zambo

    Everyone have good fixtures for next week, only worry is not having Kane.
    A) Jimi/ings > Kane
    B) Save FT
    C) Other moves?

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      A Ings

    2. 21VK12
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Jimmy to Kane or hold and then either do Ings/Jimmy to Aguero/Kane or Podence to Grealish next weeks

    3. mad_beer ✅
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      I enjoyed that read. Thanks Simon.

      Out of context, is Laporte(don't ask why I have had him since GW1) to Saiss on a FT this week a good move?

    4. Reyson
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Anyone without manc assets and reallyhoping westham to win prolly 1-0 haha

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        No highly owned players there so not really worried as they will share points anyway.

    5. Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Looks like I need Pope to channel his 19/20 form for me this GW

      1. The Handsome Hunk
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        LoL. That would be big ask. I dont own Kane though which is bizarre.

    6. Pukkipartyy
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Martinez
      Chilwell Saiss Robbo
      Salah (c) Son Grealish Foden Pulisic
      Kane DCL

      Steer Mitchell Brewster Dunne

      GTG?

      1. JimJoshBoy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        yup

      2. The Head-Ake
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Yup

    7. ZoumasBloomers
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      KDB to Sterling or hold?

      Sterling due a rest but also loves West Ham

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I thought KDB was in training and might start.

      2. JimJoshBoy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        hold

      3. Karan14
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        KDB is back in training. A bit sideways move?

      4. mad_beer ✅
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I would do it with or without KDB coming back.

      5. Pukki Blinders
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 3 days ago

        KDB will be back next week, wouldn't bother

    8. Jinkys Oars
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Who is the best Wolves defender under 5.4?

      I know Saiss is playing LWB and is more likely to get amongst the points but his position in the team doesn't seem to be guaranteed with Marcal etc, is Coady the best/safest bet?

      1. mad_beer ✅
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        A classic case of over thinking.

        1. Jinkys Oars
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Maybe 🙂 No point in putting in someone who's not going to play either though...

      2. Hint
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Saiss will keep his place

        1. Jinkys Oars
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Decision made, cheers 🙂

      3. Phil's Stamps
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Saiss, he's nailed. He's aslo their best defender at the mo. He'll probably slot back into centre back when the new guy is settled in.

        1. Jinkys Oars
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          That's music to my ears, cheers 🙂

      4. XABI 15
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I dont think Saiss is nailed. I was speaking to a Wolves fan and he thought he might actually get dropped as he is the worst defensively

    9. JimJoshBoy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Who would you have from GW7 onwartds

      A) Jimi and Grelaish
      B)Watkins and Rashford

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        B

        1. The Head-Ake
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          B

    10. Trilly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Are we getting a proper press conference from Carlo today?

    11. ChickenTikkaMoSalah
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Am I GTG?
      Martinez (Button)
      Robbo,Konsa,Lamptey,Chilwell (Kilman)
      Salah(C)Son,Pulisic,Grealish(Bissouma)
      Kane,DCL (Brewster)

      On a WC, so any suggestions are welcome

      1. ArseneAllTheWay
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Havertz over Pulisic maybe?

      2. The Head-Ake
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Looks good to me

      3. mad_beer ✅
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Looks good, but that's a lot of AVL def.

    12. Zlatan F.C
        1 month, 3 days ago

        What are Jimenez and Podence owners doing? Shifting to Kane or holding?

        1. JimJoshBoy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Shfiting to kane next week or antonio gw8

        2. Pukki Blinders
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Jimi is gone for me

        3. Gromit
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Done Jimi to Kane for this GW

          Podence holding for another 2 GWs and then maybe out for Foden if he doesn't come good.

      • makaveli70
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Bench 2:
        Dallas
        Zuoma
        Barnes
        Kilman

        1. makaveli70
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Please help

          1. fpl_tp95
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Zouma and Dallas for me. Wary of Kilman not playing though so I'd pay attention to who's first on your bench.

      • Pukki Blinders
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Burnley don't have a fit right back at the moment... does it make Son a better option than Kane this week?

      • ArseneAllTheWay
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Wilson > Aguero

        Soucek > Barkley (-4)

        Please tell me I’m insane!

        1. The Handsome Hunk
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Only Wilson to Aguero. Soucek will be in most of teams by GW 9.

      • Trippier Hazard
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Question to mods: On GW deadline days and day before - is it possible to post a tweet saying what time various articles (team news, scout picks, etc) are estimated to be posted on?

        1. No Professionals
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Decent idea

        2. Gregor
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          I’ll ask.

        3. Gregor
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Today, we've got Spot the Differential coming at lunch, Scout Picks 2:30pm, Team News round-up at 4:30pm (although many entries on the Team News Page will be done before then anyway) and the Gameweek Guide at 5pm.

      • The Head-Ake
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Just here to remind you that:

        DEADLINE FOR TRANSFERS IS TONIGHT, NOT TOMORROW.

        1. Pukki Blinders
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Shhh

        2. The Hunt
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Mods...please delete this post. Mini league rivals missing Friday deadlines are some of the highlights of my year.

          1. PompeyUpNorth!
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Agreed. Deadline reminders should be banned imo

      • Mr. O'Connell
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Back end of last season Leicester matched Arsenals 3-5-2 formation. Barnes started on the bench. Given he played 90 mins last night, do we think this will happen again?

        Probably a moot point as I think I will sell regardless.

        1. Pukki Blinders
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Increases Justin's appeal if thats the case

        2. ElliotJHP
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Ah urge to take the hit to move to Grealish is increasing.

          Vardy could be out, maybe Barnes up top - wishful thinking!

      • Live Lad
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        who should be the first sub?
        (1) Mitchell
        (2) Bissouma

        1. JaydenLFC87
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          That order

        2. The Head-Ake
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          2

      • JaydenLFC87
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I’ve the the spare cash to do Bamford to Kane this week for free, no brainer right??

        The alternative is Davis > Werner but that would mean dropping to the bench Mitchell Chilwell or Jota who is think will start this weekend

        1. Gregor
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          I would.

        2. mad_beer ✅
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Easy decision. Go for it.

      • drughi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Jrod>Foden for free or save transfer and have ayling come in for Jrod

        1. Mr. O'Connell
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Save. Foden will frustrate

          1. drughi
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            probably the case yes could do well against west ham though

        2. Pukki Blinders
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Jrod to foden is backwards imo

          1. drughi
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Sure is but leaves money to get chilwell next week. I really wanna keep jrod though, hope its minor as I will most likely keep

        3. 21VK12
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Ayling I would say. Jrod good for long term and decent fixtures

            1. drughi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              cheers

        4. 21VK12
            1 month, 3 days ago

            On WC, Team:
            Martinez - Steele
            Lamptey - Ayling - Kilman - Digne - Targett
            Mane - Salah(c) - Son - Rodriguez - Bisouma
            DCL - Brewster - Aguero
            0$ itb

            A) gtg and do Mane to kdb next week
            B)Mane + Brewster --> Grealish/Zaha + Werner
            C)Mane --> Bruno + 1$ ITB for more flexibility the next week(s)

            1. The Head-Ake
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              B imo

              1. The Head-Ake
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Didn't see A, so A

          • Mr. O'Connell
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Barnes 》 Grealish [3, 5, 2]
            Barnes & Brewster 》 Soucek & Kane (-4) [3, 4, 3]

          • The Head-Ake
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            1 FT and 2.2 ITB. Save for 2 FT?

            McCarthy
            Lamptey | TAA | Walker-Peters | Mitchell
            Mahrez | Salah (c) | Havertz | Son
            Werner | DCL |

            Martin | Bissouma | Davis | Justin

          • Rinseboy
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            team look ok for this week?

            Martinez
            Lamptey Robbo Saiss Semedo
            Son Salah Grealish Jrod
            DCL Kane
            Steer Barnes Mitchell Brewster

            1. The Head-Ake
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Yep

            2. JaydenLFC87
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Good team similar to mine

          • wilson007
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 3 days ago

            McCarthy Steer
            TAA Taylor Justin Mitchell Vinagre**
            Salah Son JRod* Soucek Bissouma
            Kane Werner DCL

            1FT 0.6 ITB

            Plan was to do Vinagre -> Lamptey, and I still think it makes more sense given JRod could start either this week or definitely next week?

            Still have WC but not planning to use yet..

          • MallettMan
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            G2G? 0.2 ITB and 2FT

            Martinez (Ryan)
            TAA Justin Mitchell (Taylor, Dunne)
            Son Mane Auba Zaha (Diangana)
            Wilson Bamford Ings

            Shall I sort the defence out somehow?

            1. fr3d
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Wildcard tbh

              1. MallettMan
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                oh god dont say that ive already used it , was fairly happy with team

            2. wilson007
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 3 days ago

              With 2FT I'd be getting in a City/Villa attacker, or Kane.

            3. 21VK12
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Auba and Mitchell to Grealish and Robbo/Digne and use money next week for upgrade ?

            4. JaydenLFC87
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Start who should start ?

              A) Castagne

              B) Chilwell