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. McSauce
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    A OR B? First to 3 wins

    A) Son & Kane --> KDB & Vardy (-4)

    B) 3.9m, Son, Adams --> Stones, KDB, Davis (-8)

    1. Drip Doctor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      A

      1. Here's Tom with the We…
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

    2. GS456
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I'm doing A

    3. claretparrot
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Probably B of the two

    4. McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Thanks Gents, I am on A myself ATM

    5. rubberdignerapids
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      A

    6. McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      https://twitter.com/FFScout/status/1350079657874493440

      Ok now leaning back to B?

    7. Homer21
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Neither

  2. claretparrot
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    How about this as a roll of the dice? Would bench boost but go without KDB

    [-4] Son & Raphinha > Foden & Grealish (/Barnes)

    1. GS456
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Don't like no KDB

      1. claretparrot
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        No me neither, but equally don't like losing Robbo or Vardy to get there. Tricky week

  3. The Big Fella
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    I love Sean Dyche (Source: BBC live blog)

    Footballers were reminded this week that "handshakes, high fives and hugs must be avoided" with extra scrutiny on every aspect of life under lockdown in a coronavirus pandemic.

    However, Burnley boss Sean Dyche says it's a "human reaction" to celebrate goals.

    "First of all, to celebrate you have to score some goals, so we need to score some goals first before we worry about anything else," said Dyche.

    1. Pompel
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      😛

    2. Amey
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      LOL

  4. RustyBz
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Tricky isn't it. Either take a battering with point hits to field a theoretically tasty Bench Boost team, or play it safe. Feels like every time I have the benefit of hindsight sticking instead of twisting is the best option...

    Either a - 8 to get KDB (TC), whos total over last few weeks is very poor or -12 for a decent Bench Boost which will likely be destroyed by covid fixtures/postponements/tired players. And you'll have a stupid strong bench moving forwards.

    Might just do a nice single FT.

    1. Drip Doctor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      In the same boat regarding KDB. Its his fixtures after the DGW that makes me think i need him. But, when you add up the fact you'd have to lose Son or Kane, plus take a -4, it could easily backfire.

      1. RustyBz
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yeah I'd have to do Son + DCL -> Brewster + KDB (-4). But I also want to do Keane -> Stones...

        Would you TC KDB if you got him in?

        1. Drip Doctor
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Yep.

  5. Slurpy
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    7 dgw players doesnt feel like enough looking at some teams

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      True but plenty of SGW players will outscore the DGWers.

      1. Homer21
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        This

    2. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Don't look at others teams.

    3. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Depends on who the SGW players are

    4. Bobby's Teeth
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      In the same boat mate, that too without Mo. But I love all my SGWers

  6. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Which option is best?

    Balbuena and Son are definitely getting transferred out. Unsure with Kane to Vardy (-4). If I do this change, Dawson can be upgraded to Cresswell.

    A. Balbuena, Son and Kane to Cresswell, Salah and Vardy (-8)
    B. Balbuena and Son to Dawson and Salah (-4)

    Martinez
    Stones Cancelo Coufal Balbuena*
    KDB Bruno Soucek Son*
    Bamford* Kane*
    (Johnstone Raphinha* Rodrigo* Holding*)

  7. Davidwes
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Should I do a -8?
    Son, TAA to KDB and Reece james?

    1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      James is too risky. Prefer him to play 2-3 games in a row before transferring him in. Prob play 1 out of the 2 games

      1. Davidwes
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Well I need to bring in someone under 5,4...
        Any suggestions? I could bring in AWB but just dont fancy that

        1. Davidwes
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Btw, I already own stones and tripple west ham

          1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Utd def or Justin

            1. Davidwes
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Yeah perhaps, thanks

        2. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Cresswell or a City Def

  8. Bubz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    McCarthy —> Martinez -4

    Yay/Nay folks. Cast your votes:

    1. Reeker
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Nay

    2. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      nay

      1. Here's Tom with the We…
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yay

    3. claretparrot
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Nope

    4. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Yay

    5. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I'd rate that a potential yay.

      DGW. (I have Vardy so I want Leicester to score vs. Saints too lol.) The hit alone could potentially pay off vs. Newcastle.

      Martinez has better fixture post-DGW and future DGWs to come.

      1. Bubz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yeah this is my thinking also. Plus McCarthy may not even play vs Leicester

        1. scubasmithy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          McCarthy is back, confirmed by Soton that he is available to play.

          1. Bubz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            He’s back in training but nothing to say he’s guaranteed to come straight back into the team

          2. scubasmithy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            but I would still do it. Good chance it pays back in one week (30-40%) and longer term smart move.

    6. seanie3
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      nay, no real upside..

  9. AdamJ91
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    BB looking good? Still have FH & WC aswell.

    1FT; 0.0 ITB

    Martinez - Ramsdale
    Cancelo - Dias - Dier - Holding - Coufal
    KDB - Son - Bruno - Raphinha - Anguissa
    Kane - Laca - Bamford

    Want to try fit Salah in aswell but not sure who for, I'd most likely have to lose one or both the Spurs lads.

    1. Kabayan
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I won't BB with that.
      You potentially can have 15 BB players in 26 and play FH in 29.

  10. Reeker
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 26 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

    Thanks.

    1. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      B

    2. scubasmithy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      B

  11. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Do we have an idea of who at Villa had / has COVID?

    1. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I guess not

  12. Gun gun
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Anybody trying abraham?

    1. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Is that like prosciutto?

    2. claretparrot
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Reckon Keturah did

    3. seanie3
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      not a prayer.. rather giroud and thats saying something..

  13. karljkadak
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 26 days ago

    thinking of this WC, thoughts?

    martinez
    dias, maguire, coufal
    salah, bruno, kdb, soucek, smith-rowe
    antonio, vardy

    mccarthy, mitchell, dallas, bamford.

  14. Gentle_Turks
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Who scores more this week?

    Son
    Vardy (-4)

    1. GS456
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Vardy for me

      1. Gentle_Turks
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Even with the hit?

        1. GS456
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          He's difficult. I think he can get goals in both, as he seems to be great against teams who don't sit deep.

          I'm trying to decide whether to do Kane & Son > Vardy and KDB for a hit.

          Got a good feeling about Vardy this week though.

          1. Gentle_Turks
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            I think I'd probably do that. Spurs have Pool in GW20.

  15. DRIZ ✅
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    A: Coufal, Soucek, Wilson
    B: Coufal, Barnes, Antonio

    Which one do you prefer?

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      A

    2. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      B

    3. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      B

    4. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      A

    5. Kannbury
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A.

      • DRIZ ✅
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Thanks all 🙂

      • Jonny HOW SON?
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        B

    6. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Any return date for DCL? Wondering whether to sell him or Adams for Antonio. Don’t need either this week

      1. GS456
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Get rid for Antonio

    7. Fuddled FC
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Folks are getting a bit carried, even more than usual, with the dgw.

      Players such as Son, Kane, Bamford even with the fixtures could outperform dgw'ers without taking hits.

      1. GS456
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        It's fun having DGW players though

        1. Fuddled FC
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          I do agree with that sentiment and it is a game after all 🙂

          1. GS456
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            My thoughts too, until we are all crying after it hahaha

      2. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yeah for a while I was benching Son for Wilson before I came to my senses

      3. Pompel
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Reason people are shipping either Kane or Son is generally to accommodate either of KDB or Salah, both who are likely to outscore Son or Kane this GW

      4. Iceball
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Of course they could, average for the best players is 7-8 points, so why not get similar player that should score even 14-16 points in 2 games, or slightly less but at least more than 7-8 points on average 🙂

      5. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Might not though...

        Though I'm happy to play all of above this week, the Sheffield United fixture would be golden in a single game week, for me it's a question if I use DGW to do a restructure. I dont' want three Spurs players in my team longer term, if I've got DGW players who I fancy, eg Salah, Cresswell, Antonio. Now might be good time to jump on them at minimal expense.

        Bamford is going nowhere.

      6. Guru Mediation
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I agree on Bamford, but Spurs Vs SHU will be low scoring so having both would be overkill in my book - I'm getting rid of both as I'm also considering that the Liverpool game is in GW20

    8. FFFoxy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      A) Coufal & (bench) Lookman
      B) Cresswell & (bench) ESR?

      1. FFFoxy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I just thought banking fulham bench players is good idea as they have 2 fixtures to be scheduled (in hand)
        hence why Lookman is a good option

    9. CBS
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dallas to Stones? For -4

        Yes or no?

        1. MoeZe3bi
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Yes

        2. GS456
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          no

        3. Fuddled FC
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          That's what I'm doing!

        4. Óró Sé…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          I did this very move. I'm pretty sure it's a good move but I didn't really want to sell Dallas. I think beyond the double Stones has better prospects than Dallas so that swung it for me. The 4 will defo be paid back fast I think.

          I don't take hits as a rule. This is just my second this season.

          1. CBS
              2 months, 26 days ago

              A alternative move could be holding to Stones instead? Is it better you think?

              1. Óró Sé…
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Arsenal have 5 clean sheets so far, Leeds have 6. Both have good fixtures over the next while, I'd say equal chance of keeping clean sheets over the next 6... ?

                Holding v Dallas as players... Dallas is way more exciting had has loads of assist potential. Holding, not so much.

                I'd keep Dallas and ship Holding personally.

        5. fridge
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          I have pretty much decided not to do bench boost but am still unsure on transfers this week. 0 Man City is something I would like to change but only have 0.1 and 1 FT

          McCarthy
          TAA. Coufal. Lowton (Dallas) (Balbuena)
          Salah. Fernandes. Soucek. Son. Raphinha
          Kane. Bamford (Wood)

          A) Kane > Vardy
          B) Kane, Balbuena > Vardy & Stones (-4)
          C) Kane, Wood, Balbuena > Vardy, Antonio, Stones (-8)

        6. ChickenTikkaMoSalah
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Do we think Antonio will start both games? What’s this thing about that youth striker playing

          1. Hits from the Bong
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Think Antonio will play an hour of each and this kid will make his debut from the bench

        7. kinghenry14
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          wood to antonio worth a gamble for free? or is this a waste of a transfer? cheers!

          1. Rupert The Horse
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Great transfer. Why so cautious?

            1. kinghenry14
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              not sure if he well get close to 180 min after recently coming back, but i'll probably do it, cheers

            2. Whatever100
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Well in draft I have had wood for 3 or 4 weeks with no returns and have now swapped for Antonio. Watch Wood step up now!

        8. MoeZe3bi
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

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

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

          Ryan>Johnstone
          Chilwell>Targett
          Taylor>Maguire/AWB
          Worth a -8 with BB?

        9. gstegnar
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Foden or Mahrez?

          1. MoeZe3bi
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Foden

          2. elwardio
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            F

        10. Zlatan F.C
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Still have 1FT and 1.8m in the bank. What would you do with this team?

            Martinez
            Robbo Coufal Dias Dallas
            Salah Son Grealish Bruno Soucek
            Bamford

            Forster Adams DCL Ferguson

            a) Son and DCL to KDB and Antonio -4
            b) Ferguson and DCL to Stones and Antonio -4
            c) Ferguson to Stones
            d) DCL to Antonio

          • rubberdignerapids
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Which scores more points?

            A) KDB (CPL/AVL)

            or

            B) McCarthy (lei) + Lookman (CHE/MUN) + Dallas (BHA)+ Pieters (whu/liv)

            1. GS456
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              a

          • unclesbasement
              2 months, 26 days ago

              TC KDB..Bad idea?

              1. GS456
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                I think too much uncertainty around games being off for covid & his minutes atm

              2. Shteve
                • 11 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Not bad but not perfect, could work out, but he could also get rested and City attack hasn't been fantastic

            • Flicka
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              For this gameweek:

              A) Son
              B) Rashford (-4)

              Doing my head in with this decision.

              1. elwardio
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Depends. Do you have Fernandes or Kane? Would keep at least one player from each team

            • beetlejuice
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Worst possible news for Fabianski. 50/50 availability. Who do you think has higher chance to play ?
              Fabianski or Martinez?

            • Yuhz89
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Should i play taylor(burnley) or dallas?