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.

1,918 Comments Post a Comment
  1. davies
    • 7 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      looks like save FT to me or eventually Raphinha ➡ Soucek

    2. Weak Become Heros
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Sort Balbuena out.

    3. teneighty
      • 6 Years
      9 months, 16 days 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
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Raf --> Soucek?

  2. LewanGOALski
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 7 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      A

    2. Gazza2000
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      B

    3. teneighty
      • 6 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      B

  3. Weak Become Heros
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      B as it doesn’t include Brewster

  4. McSauce
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Fabianski
    Cancelo Chilwell Coufal
    Salah Bruno Son Soucek
    Adams Kane Bamford

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

    1. Weak Become Heros
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      A

  5. ABCDEFC
    • 4 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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. Weak Become Heros
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Top 3 look good.

    2. elwardio
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      1 and 3

  6. TimoTime
    • 2 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Yeah looks gravy mate.

      1. TimoTime
        • 2 Years
        9 months, 16 days ago

        Cheers mate

  7. Weak Become Heros
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

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

    1. elwardio
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Would think no match this weekend = no presser

      1. Weak Become Heros
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 16 days ago

        Of course, doh!

        Worth a gamble on Watkins you think?

    2. popey
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

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

  8. Whazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 1 Year
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Nope 4 more since Robbo has a double.

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        9 months, 16 days ago

        KDB one more than Son
        Antonio two more than DCL

  9. Rhodes your boat
    • 5 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      9 months, 16 days 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

  10. mynameisq
    • 8 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      9 months, 16 days 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!

  11. KaBoZ: Kids,don't Drin…
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

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

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      B

    2. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      I like what I see from how advanced Cancelo plays.

    3. boombaba
      • 8 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      A because hes nailed

  12. FF Dirtbag
    • 10 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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?

  13. Hazz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 5 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      C

  14. Manumana
    • 5 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Play

    A. Holding
    B. Dallas

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      B

    2. Boly Would
      • 5 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Dallas

  15. JP\'s
    9 months, 16 days ago

    A or B for GW19?

    A) Salah and Wilson
    B) Son and Vardy

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      A

  16. Little Red Lacazette
    • 5 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Stick.

  17. davies
    • 7 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Best 4.6 defender to replace Balbuena?

    1. boombaba
      • 8 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Dawson

    2. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Targett, Holding, Clark

  18. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Best Max 8.6 fwd for dgw?

    A) Watkins
    B) Wilson
    C) Woods

    Have Antonio

    1. Bam Saka Laca
      • 1 Year
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Watkins

  19. Bam Saka Laca
    • 1 Year
    9 months, 16 days ago

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

    1. DV8R
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

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

    2. Bam Saka Laca
      • 1 Year
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Sorry, KDB is Foden actually

  20. spiritof82
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

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

  21. dando89
    • 5 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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

  22. William.gallant
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Taylor + KWP + Brewster —> Mitchell stones + Antonio

    Worth it?

    1. William.gallant
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      For a -8 but will then bench boost as well

  23. Mahjongking
    • 4 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Martinez
    Saiss cresswell stones
    Bruno salah sterling foden barnes
    Antonio bam

    Subs steer dallas kwp dcl

    Gtg?

  24. DV8R
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

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

    1. FDMS All Starz
      • 6 Years
      9 months, 16 days 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
      • 11 Years
      9 months, 16 days 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

  25. FDMS All Starz
    • 6 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

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

    2. AgentFern
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Maybe lose rashford if you set on it

  26. AgentFern
    • 4 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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

  27. Whazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

    Let me rephrase, for DGW19:

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

  28. tafrère
    • 5 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      How so?

    2. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      What's that?

    3. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      Why isn't he an option.

      Sorry haven't been following anything today?

      1. tafrère
        • 5 Years
        9 months, 16 days 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
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 16 days ago

      I brought in Wilson. Also meh

  29. The Red Devil
    • 6 Years
    9 months, 16 days ago

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

  30. 03farmboy
    • 2 Years
    9 months, 16 days 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?