Pro Pundits - Simon

How holding on to your chips and transfers can lead to long-term FPL success

There is a lot of talk in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) community about the importance of patience and knowing when to act and when to wait is widely accepted as a crucial element of success.

But even a casual perusal of the desperate lamentations that echo across fantasy forums on a Saturday evening will illustrate that, while we fantasy managers often fail to act when we should, we very often act when we shouldn’t.

In fact, it’s very hard not to act, it feels good to act, especially after a bad Gameweek.

So why is patience such a virtue when it comes to fantasy football? What does science have to say about this? The answer might involve marshmallows.

The Marshmallow Experiment

Aside from perhaps the Stanford Prison and Milgram experiments (1971 & 1963 respectively), few psychological experiments have gained the notoriety of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (1972).

In this study, young children were sat in a room with a marshmallow placed in front of them and were told that they could eat the marshmallow now or, if they waited 15 minutes, they would be given a second marshmallow.

Inevitably, some of the children ate the first marshmallow while some avoided temptation long enough to receive the second marshmallow. And some of them just cried.

Salah benched as Matip returns for Liverpool's Palace visit

What was most interesting about the Marshmallow Experiment is that they followed up with the children 10 years later and found that those who had resisted eating the first marshmallow had largely scored better in their SATs, performed better in school generally and even had healthier BMIs.

While there is some debate as to why this correlation between the ability to delay gratification and these various measures of success should exist, it exists nonetheless.

Much like tomato ketchup and a certain Irish stout, good things come to those who wait.

While the results of the Marshmallow Experiment are still debated, the idea that there is a link between ability to delay gratification and improved prospects of success in humans has, for years, been supported by high profile and influential figures ranging from psychologist Jordan Peterson to motivational speaker Tony Robbins, both of whom, in fact, consider this ability to be among the most important indicators of success in both children and adults.

Applying the Theory to FPL

So can we as FPL managers learn anything from this?

Well, one very obvious parallel exists if you replace marshmallows with free transfers.

You can have two, but you have to avoid using the first one.

I’m a huge believer in saving the second transfer whenever possible and, while I’m not aware of any studies on the subject, I know that there is a fairly strong correlation between the success of my transfers, how well I’m doing in FPL generally and how often I’ve been able to carry a transfer.

The most obvious reason for why this might be is that, whereas with one transfer your options are limited to players within the same price bracket as the one you’re getting rid of, with two transfers you have far, far more options.

A second reason might be that waiting a gameweek to make two transfers instead of one per gameweek gives you more time to think and reduces the likelihood that you will make some sort of knee-jerk mistake that you end up regretting.

A similar principle could be applied to when you make your transfers. This season, perhaps more than any others, has shown the benefit of waiting as late as possible to make your changes.

It’s generally accepted that access to more, and more current information will typically improve decision quality and FPL is likely no exception.

Of course, being patient is easier said than done, especially off the back of a bad Gameweek where the temptation to make a change, any change, is huge.

Here, we might take a leaf out of the children of the Marshmallow Experiment’s book in that some, in an attempt to avoid temptation, simply put their hands over their eyes.

In an FPL context, this might mean avoiding looking at player prices or even spending too much time thinking about your next transfer until a day or two before the next Gameweek begins.

The principle of delaying gratification could equally apply to when you use your chips.

Serious FPL managers have long been distinguished by their tendency to keep their wildcards and chips until later in the season and, while it doesn’t always work out as intended, this approach confers all sorts of benefits including the opportunity to take advantage of Double Gameweeks, a typically higher team value to invest in players and more knowledge of who the best teams and players are.

Of course, there are also disadvantages to being patient.

Just as cautious cavemen in the Paleolithic Era were less likely to be eaten by sabre-tooth tigers, they were also less likely to find food themselves, particularly if they were too cautious.

The benefits of delaying action in FPL must always be weighed against the benefits of taking it and distinguishing which is the correct course and when, is and always has been a big part of the skill to this game.

However, knowing that a bias towards patience generally (be it natural or forced through will) is likely to produce better results overall, should be a positive step in the direction of making better and more deliberate FPL decisions.

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1,918 Comments Post a Comment
  1. davies
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    What to do with this lot?

    (1FT / 0.1 ITB)

    Martinez*
    Dias* Coufal* Balbuena*
    Salah* KDB* Bruno* Son Raphinha
    Vardy* Bamford

    Forster Brewster Mitchell Dunne

    Cheers.

    1. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      looks like save FT to me or eventually Raphinha ➡ Soucek

    2. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Sort Balbuena out.

    3. teneighty
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Balbuena to a DGW-defender seems a priority. Could also get Soucek for Raphina for a hit perhaps.

    4. McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Raf --> Soucek?

  2. LewanGOALski
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Team for DGW19 is:

    Martinez
    Dias - Chilwell - Coufal
    Salah - Bruno - Son - Soucek
    Vardy - Bamford - C.Adams

    Dallas - Raphinha - Kilman

    Should I:
    A) C.Adams ➡ Antonio for -4 and play Antonio
    or
    B) just play one of Dallas / Raphinha
    ..?

    1. Thunder Warrior
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      A

    2. Gazza2000
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      B

    3. teneighty
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      B

  3. Original Pirate Material
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Which option for this week and next 3-4. Play BB this week.

    A. Ogbonna HBarnes Brewster
    B. Dawson Raphina Antoni/Watkins

    1. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      B as it doesn’t include Brewster

  4. McSauce
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Fabianski
    Cancelo Chilwell Coufal
    Salah Bruno Son Soucek
    Adams Kane Bamford

    A) Son & Kane --> KDB(c) + Vardy
    B) Son --> Sterling (Captain Salah)

    1. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      A

  5. ABCDEFC
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Want to BB. Which of these transfers would you do, if not all?

    1. Son to KDB (-4)
    2. Adams to Watkins (-4)
    3. Balbuena to Stones (-4)
    4. McCarthy to Martinez (-4)
    5. Raphinha to Foden (-4)

    1. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Top 3 look good.

    2. elwardio
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      1 and 3

  6. TimoTime
    • 1 Year
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Current GW19 team - not using BB:

    Martinez*
    Stones*, Dias*, Coufal*
    (K)DB*, Salah*, Bruno*, Grealish*
    Kane, Bamford, Adams

    (Peacock, Mitchell, Smith-Rowe, Dunne)

    0.2 ITB

    Already done Dallas > Stones this week

    Thinking to do Adams > Antonio or Watkins for a -4

    Once this move is done, do I have enough/the right DGW players?

    1. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Yeah looks gravy mate.

      1. TimoTime
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Cheers mate

  7. Original Pirate Material
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Has Smith had his presser? Anything on who may be in or out?

    1. elwardio
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Would think no match this weekend = no presser

      1. Original Pirate Material
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Of course, doh!

        Worth a gamble on Watkins you think?

    2. popey
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Won't be a presser as Sat game postponed and now no game until Weds

  8. Whazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 1 day ago

    Robbo, Son, DCL --> Chilwell, KDB(c), Antonio (-8)?

    I'm thinking that's 6 more appearence points, so only -2 to give me the captain I want?

    1. ivantys
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Nope 4 more since Robbo has a double.

        1. Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          KDB one more than Son
          Antonio two more than DCL

    2. Rhodes your boat
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Kwp to coufal the best move here? 1FT 0.2itb

      Martinez (X2)
      Stones (X2) kwp holding
      Salah (X2) kdb (X2) Bruno (X2) son soucek (X2)
      Kane bamford

      Forster yedlin (X2) strujik davis (X2)

      1. JabariParkersEyelid
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 1 day ago

        That's a good move, could do Kane to Vardy as an alternative.

        Full disclosure I'm doing your suggested move but our teams are obviously different

    3. mynameisq
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      I always seem to do better when I don't save 2 transfers up, something about having 2 always makes me think I need to use both and that's when the foolishness starts

      1. McSauce
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        I did this for GW17 I brought in Fab for Martinez purely not to lose a FT and that didnt go well. Martinez now has a double I lost 0.4m of value and Fab is injured!

    4. KaBoZ: Kids,don't Drin…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Why would you pick one over the other ?
      A) Dias
      B) Cancelo

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        B

      2. Hazz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        I like what I see from how advanced Cancelo plays.

      3. boombaba
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        A because hes nailed

    5. FF Dirtbag
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Hows it looking for the dgw?

      Martinez
      Stones Coufal Taylor
      Salah KDB Fernandes Grealish Soucek
      Antonio Kane

      Forster; Bamford, Dallas, KWP

      Captain Salah or KDB?

    6. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Tricky deciding whether I want to BB or not...

      McCarthy
      ROBERTSON / CANCELO / COUFAL
      SALAH / FERNANDES / Son / SOUCEK / Raphinha
      VARDY / Bamford

      Forster // TAYLOR* / Calvert-Lewin* / Alioski

      A) Do not play BB. DCL > Cavani (bench Raphinha)
      B) Do not play BB. DCL > Antonio. (bench Raphinha)
      C) Do not play BB. Alioski > Dias (bench Raphinha)

      C) Forster/DCL > Martinez/Antonio (-4) & play BB
      D) Forster/DCL > [4.5 GK]*/Cavani (-4) & play BB

      E) Forster/DCL/Raphinha/Alioski > [4.5 GK]*/Antonio/Foden/Stones (-12) & play BB
      F) Forster/DCL/Raphinha/Alioski > Martinez/Antonio/Gundogan/Stones (-12) & play BB

      1. Kabayan
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        C

    7. Manumana
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 1 day ago

      Play

      A. Holding
      B. Dallas

      1. RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        B

      2. Boly Would
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Dallas

    8. JP\'s
        4 months, 1 day ago

        A or B for GW19?

        A) Salah and Wilson
        B) Son and Vardy

        1. RamaJama
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          A

      • Little Red Lacazette
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Already on a -4.

        Martinez
        Coufal Dias Stones Dallas
        KDB Bruno Salah Son
        Bamford Antonio

        Johnstone Adams Bednarek Bissouma

        A. Stick with team.
        B. Bissouma -> Soucek for -8 and bench Dallas.

        1. GreennRed
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Stick.

      • davies
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Best 4.6 defender to replace Balbuena?

        1. boombaba
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Dawson

        2. GreennRed
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Targett, Holding, Clark

      • RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Best Max 8.6 fwd for dgw?

        A) Watkins
        B) Wilson
        C) Woods

        Have Antonio

        1. Rep Poulette
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Watkins

      • Rep Poulette
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Raphinha + Kane -> KDB(c) + Vardy (-4)?

        1. DV8R
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Yeah but wow you have a lot of cash in the bank

        2. Rep Poulette
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Sorry, KDB is Foden actually

      • spiritof82
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Definitely Rob Holding or Charlie Taylor when he returns from injury.

      • dando89
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Planning to bench boost but don't have full DGW players so far and am already on -4

        Is it worth another hit for any of these?:

        KWP to Stones/Justin
        Adams to Wilson/Watkins

        Cheers

      • William.gallant
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Taylor + KWP + Brewster —> Mitchell stones + Antonio

        Worth it?

        1. William.gallant
          • 2 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          For a -8 but will then bench boost as well

      • Gun gun
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Martinez
        Saiss cresswell stones
        Bruno salah sterling foden barnes
        Antonio bam

        Subs steer dallas kwp dcl

        Gtg?

      • DV8R
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Stones likely to play both games? Don't want to get Pep'd

        1. FDMS All Starz
          • 5 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          You would think so but never know about pep, if he sees the game as easy maybe he will give a rest who knows

        2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Stones has been pretty imperious & they’ve conceded 1 goal in his 7 starts - Pep may have finally found his Pique

          After last season’s farce he should want stability in that position above all else so until it breaks I don’t think he’ll fix it

          Plus he may not have a choice anyways as Stones & Dias are his only fit centrebacks currently, right?

          You’d have to think the minute either of Stones/Dias connect with a KDB corner for a 15 pointer that will spark the proper price panic on them, they’re super value at those prices

      • FDMS All Starz
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Would you get rid of Son or Rashford for Kdb for free?

        A) Son (will lose 0.4 in value)
        B) Rashford (will lose 0.1 in value)

        1. AgentFern
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Tricky, both have good fixtures and could explode. Not sure sorry

        2. AgentFern
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Maybe lose rashford if you set on it

      • AgentFern
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Would you guys recommend this...

        Robbo, zaha & Kane ---> stones, KDB & Vardy (-8)

        Leaves me with..

        Martinez
        Justin, stones, Coufal
        Salah, Bruno, KDB(tc), Son, Soucek
        Vardy, Bamford

      • Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Let me rephrase, for DGW19:

        A. Robbo+Reid+4 points
        B. Chilwell+Antonio

      • tafrère
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        So I guess Antonio is not an option after all.

        No idea who to bring then. Maybe Watkins. Meh.

        1. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          How so?

        2. Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          What's that?

        3. Gudjohnsen
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          Why isn't he an option.

          Sorry haven't been following anything today?

          1. tafrère
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 1 day ago

            Can't find the tweet. But something about some West Ham youngster available to play striker. And all West Ham fans saying Antonio is unfit...

        4. GreennRed
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 1 day ago

          I brought in Wilson. Also meh

      • The Red Devil
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Grealish+ Taylor+ Bednarek -> Salah+ Mitchell+ coufal (-8)
        Yay or nay

      • 03farmboy
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 1 day ago

        Is it worth transferring out balbuena for a -8 hit I already taken -4 to get in De Bruyne

        Or play Kwp or Alioski instead of balbuena?