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. Hits from the Bong
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    I’m on -4 with no money in the bank. Should I bench boost this lot or save it?

    Steer Antonio Taylor Dallas

    1. JJeyy
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      If you have wildcard id save it

    2. cigan
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      would just play Antonio

      1. Hits from the Bong
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        Would have to start him over Soucek, Grealish or Wilson, and he doesn’t really look fit enough to

    3. Kabayan
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Save it

    4. rubberdignerapids
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 11 days ago

      how have u managed to get antonio on the bench....I'd play antonio over woeful wilson

  2. JJeyy
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Who scores more this week?

    A) Son, Stones
    B) KDB, Bamford

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      A

    2. unclesbasement
        1 month, 11 days ago

        B

      • Dexters Laboratory
          1 month, 11 days ago

          B

        • Kannbury
            1 month, 11 days ago

            B.

          • Slurpy
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 11 days ago

            A, unless captain KDB

            1. JJeyy
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 11 days ago

              Salah always be captain

            2. unclesbasement
                1 month, 11 days ago

                hows triple captain sound?

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

              B

            4. rubberdignerapids
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 11 days ago

              B cos Son was looking hella tired

          • unclesbasement
              1 month, 11 days ago

              Rate my team. Any feedback would be much appreciated
              Martinez (Meslier)
              Coufal, Chilwell,Cancelo (Mitchell, Clyne)
              KDB(TC), Salah,Bruno,Soucek(smith rowe)
              Bamford,Watkins,Vardy

            • Lukaku_time
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 11 days ago

              How many points would make bench boost successful in your opinion?

              1. unclesbasement
                  1 month, 11 days ago

                  20 ish

                • Miguel Sanchez
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 11 days ago

                  20+

                • Kabayan
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 11 days ago

                  Minimum 16, imo

                  1. NETFLIX & CHILWELL
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    16 is a great effort.

                    1. Kabayan
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Hope all the benches playing two games, 4 players x 2 games x 2 points

                • popey
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 11 days ago

                  i think with all the non- WC chips, anything close to 20pts should be considered a success

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

                Thoughts on Vardy for this GW?

                1. unclesbasement
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    got him in my team. He's one of those that just needs one moment to get a goal

                  • Brosstan
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    Essential imo

                    1. Pukki Party
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      This

                  • cigan
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    captaining him as i don't have salah

                2. Henning
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 11 days ago

                  My Friend did -34 i think ,if he activate wc he wont have -34 right?

                  1. JBG
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    Correct.

                  2. unclesbasement
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      if you're competing against him dont tell him that 🙂

                      1. JBG
                        • 2 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Also this, haha. I know I wouldn't, if it is money league.

                      2. Henning
                        • 6 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Hahaha.. already told him.

                  3. htfcbrad
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    BB19 (Areola, Dier, Neto, F. Silva) or save it for DGW26 after WC25?

                    1. BremerHB
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Would probably do it.

                    2. WALOR
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      save

                    3. Kabayan
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      If you still have FH, save BB

                  4. Sarri-ball
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    Better combo

                    Son/antonio or soucek/kane

                    1. Miguel Sanchez
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Sontonio

                    2. cigan
                      • 2 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Tough one. I'm on Sontonio

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

                      Soucek Kane

                  5. BremerHB
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    A) DCL, Son, KWP -> 4.3, KDB, Cancelo/Dias (-8)

                    B) DCL, Mitchell -> Antonio, Stones (-4) and BB: Johnstone, Stones, Anguissa, Antonio

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

                      A

                      1. BremerHB
                        • 4 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Thanks!

                    2. JohnBlack
                      • 2 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      A

                      1. BremerHB
                        • 4 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Cheers!

                  6. WALOR
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 11 days ago

                    for draft league:
                    Pogba
                    or
                    Torres (MCI)?

                    1. BremerHB
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Pogba more likely to get more minutes.

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

                        Cheers Bremer

                    2. Kannbury
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Pog.

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

                          Cheers KB

                    3. SwissWavey
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Wadkins, Grealish - any suggestion/rumour that either has covid?

                      1. Kabayan
                        • 4 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        I wanna know this too

                    4. RAFA THE GAFFA
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Best move for -4?

                      A. Adams+Son >> Antonio+KDB
                      B. Dallas+Raphina >> Cancelo+Foden

                      Johnstone*
                      Robbo*, Dias*, Lowton*, Coufal*
                      Salah*, Bruno*, Soucek*, Son, Raphina
                      Bamford
                      (McCarthy, Dallas, Adams, DCL!)

                      1. rubberdignerapids
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 1 Year
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        A looks solid

                      2. Alberto Tomba
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 8 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        B means you have triple city, all who you may look to shift for their fixture turn. But then is Antonio really back to his best already? Don't think I'd take a hit for either.

                        1. RAFA THE GAFFA
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Just Son >> KDB then? No hit?

                          1. Alberto Tomba
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 8 Years
                            1 month, 11 days ago

                            No hit with that team, but I don't know if that's the best move. Possibly

                            1. RAFA THE GAFFA
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 4 Years
                              1 month, 11 days ago

                              What city fixture change can I ask? In 5 games time?

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

                        A

                    5. JohnBlack
                      • 2 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Is this good enough to bench boost?

                      Johnstone Bamford Dawson Smith-Rowe

                      1. BremerHB
                        • 4 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        I think so. Not sure if Dawson starts but otherwise looks decent enough.

                        1. Totalfootball
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Why wont he start ?

                          1. JohnBlack
                            • 2 Years
                            1 month, 11 days ago

                            Balbuena out so i think he will

                        2. iCon
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 10 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Balbuena isolating so looks good to start

                          1. BremerHB
                            • 4 Years
                            1 month, 11 days ago

                            Ah ok. Didn't know this.

                    6. Silecro
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Do you think Aguero will ever be fit in his life again?

                      1. rubberdignerapids
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 1 Year
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        That would be sad, because he was such a beast- you can see how much city miss him with their lack of goals

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

                          he has brought me my single most satisfying fantasy moment ever - second half poker of goals vs Leicester,had him at c, never felt so ecstatic.
                          They truly need him,yes

                      2. WALOR
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 11 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        question is, they need a replacement for him since he can't be counted on to stay fit.
                        you'd think they are looking to bring someone in before deadline, which would push Kun further back in rotation.

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

                          True. Somehow i still think jesus is simply not that guy

                    7. dunas_dog
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Best second keeper alongside Martinez on BB and to keep until next WC around week 25?

                      A Areola
                      B Johnstone

                      1. JohnBlack
                        • 2 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Areola

                    8. Hryszko
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Martinez > Ederson for a -4 this week and for the next few weeks?

                      Yay or nay

                      1. Bubz
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 7 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        No

                      2. Alberto Tomba
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 8 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        -8 If you look to shift him before liv, TOT ars, WHU, MUN so I'd probably leave

                    9. Alberto Tomba
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 8 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Shall I Bench Boost or save +1FT?

                      Meslier (BHA),
                      Dier (shu),
                      Bissouma / 4.8 Mid using FT (Anguissa or Smith Rowe),
                      Bamford (BHA)

                      +11DGW players

                      1. Lukaku_time
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Smith rowe and bb

                    10. rubberdignerapids
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Bench boost on- Barring any last minute news, I'm locked in.

                      Good luck for the weekend everyone!

                      Johnstone*
                      Stones*, Coufal*, Robertson*
                      Kdb*(c), Salah*, Soucek*, Bruno*
                      Antonio*, Vardy*, Bamford

                      Subs: McCarthy, Lookman*, Pieters*, Dallas

                    11. Malkmus
                      • 9 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      A'noon all. 0ft, did dcl to Antonio. 2.5 itb.

                      McCarthy
                      Zouma- coufal- Justin
                      Salah (TC) - Bruno- Son - Grealish
                      Kane - Antonio- Bamford

                      Subs - Dallas, strujik, Anguisa

                      1. Mccarthy to Ederson for -4? Thinking yes
                      2. TC - Salah / Ederson or no

                      Ta!

                    12. My neck my back my Saed Kol…
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Thoughts on dier to coufal -4? Have balbuena but looks like he’s toast

                      1. estheblessed
                        • 6 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Dier clean sheet vs Sheff U = 6points
                        Coufal = 2 cleansheets 12-4 = 8points

                        1. seanie3
                          • 9 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          neither of those are guaranteed or a given!

                          1. estheblessed
                            • 6 Years
                            1 month, 11 days ago

                            OK but it paints a picture of what Coufal has to do to out perform a cleansheet from Dier, which is highly probable.

                    13. dsefton
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      planning a BB
                      DDG Areola
                      Cancelo Stones Coufal Lowton Tierney
                      KdB Bruno Rashford Soucek (Son --> Salah?)
                      Wilson (Laca --> Antonio?) Bamford

                      https://twitter.com/David_Ornstein/status/1350071497793163264
                      looks promising so maybe worth keeping Tierney and do:
                      A) Son + Laca --> Salah + Antonio (for -4)
                      or too risky still?
                      B) Son + Laca + Tierney --> Salah + Watkins + Cresswell (-8) - can't do Antonio as would have 3 west ham already...
                      C) Son + Laca + Tierney --> Salah + Antonio + 5.4m def (Justin?)
                      D) Laca + Tierney --> Vardy + 4.6m def (-4)
                      E) Tierney --> Cresswell (FT)

                    14. Lukaku_time
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Chances that forster starts?

                    15. Drip Doctor
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 10 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      A. Dias Raphinha Kane +8pts

                      or

                      B. Creswell De Bruyne (who i'd captain) Antonio.

                    16. estheblessed
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      G2G here or anything for a hit? Also shouldI be starting Balbuena?

                      Martinez
                      Alioski, Cancelo, Dier
                      Son, Salah(c), Grealish, Bruno, Anguissa
                      Bamford, Kane

                      Forster, Balbuena, Kilman, DCL

                    17. MoeZe3bi
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      McCarthy
                      Chilwell-Zouma-Stones-Coufal
                      Bruno-Salah-Son-Bowen
                      Kane-Bamford

                      Ryan-Taylor-Raphinha-Wilson
                      1FT-0.1ITB

                      Worth a bench boost for hits?

                    18. Reeker
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      1. Brewster -> Antonio (play Antonio over Bamford)
                      2. DCL + Son (bought Son at 9.0):-> KDB + Antonio (-4)
                      3. James + Son -> Stones and KDB (-4)
                      4. Just DCL -> Antonio to prepare for for Son to KDB next week if necessary
                      5. James -> Cancelo

                    19. tabby98
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Current team:
                      Johnstone-McCarthy
                      Robbo-Justin-Coufal-Alioski-Stones
                      Salah-Bruno-Son-Soucek-Raphina
                      Vardy-Bamford-Adams

                      I was intending to bench boost this week but now the Leeds v Southampton game has been postponed.

                      What’s transfers should i make here and should i still bench boost?

                    20. ragsyboys
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      I am surprised not to see Cresswell in scout squad .. Am I missing something ?

                    21. Here's Tom with the We…
                      • 9 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Miesler
                      Stones Dias Cresswell
                      Bruno Son Salah Foden Soucek
                      Kane Bamford

                      Steer Watkins C Taylor KWP

                      A keep as in and no bb
                      B Steer to Johnstone -4 and bb
                      C Steer and KWP to Johnstone and Coufal -8 and bb

                    22. ZAMUNDA
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 11 days ago

                      Bench boosting here:

                      Martinez - Fabianski
                      Chilwell - Justin - Coufal - Dallas - Taylor*
                      Salah - Bruno - Son - Raphinha - Soucek
                      Vardy - Bamford - Watkins

                      As Taylor is a doubt for westham game, your thoughts on this:
                      A) Taylor to Dias/Cancelo/Stones for a hit
                      B) keep Taylor and save BB (I'd be wasting really good bench here of DGW players including a keeper as well)

                      I've been planning this dgw for a long time and now Man City are having double kinda makes me leaning towards A.

                      1. Here's Tom with the We…
                        • 9 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Yeah I’d do A

                        1. ZAMUNDA
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Cheers mate. Was trying to avoid the man city roulette but here we go

                      2. Tonyawesome69 WC,FH,TC left
                        • 2 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        A - Cancelo or Dias (safe option)

                        1. ZAMUNDA
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Dias looks more solid then

                      3. HugoSimpson2
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        A definitely. MC clean sheets will more than make up for hit

                        1. ZAMUNDA
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Cheers mate

                      4. RAFA THE GAFFA
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 4 Years
                        1 month, 11 days ago

                        Yep A. Cancelo or Dias

                        1. ZAMUNDA
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 11 days ago

                          Pep roulette is inevitabile right