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
    3 months, 2 days ago

    Help. Bench order okay? Should I TC Salah? Thanks

    Martinez
    TAA Stones Coufal
    Salah Bruno Son Grealish Soucek
    Kane Wilson

    Steer Antonio Dallas Taylor

    1. Disturbed
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Yes
      No

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

      Brave benching Antonio ahead of Soucek and Wilson

    3. NATSTER
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Start Wilson over Antonio?

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

      I’d play Antonio. Maybe ahead of Grealish. No.

    5. Shteve
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      If you have Antonio, you really have to play him!

      1. Hits from the Bong
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 1 day ago

        Did you not see how bad or unfit he looked against Stockport?

        1. Shteve
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          First game back.. He'll come on a lot for that.

        2. Westfield Irons ⭐️
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          Not sure that's 100% true. Because of his size, he has a 'gait' that isn't easy on the eye, unless he's running in to space or 1v1. There was no space v Stockport, who often parked the bus, so he was trudging around in the mud, try to find space in the box. I wouldn't judge him by the match alone.

          1. Hits from the Bong
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 1 day ago

            He also takes a little while to get up to speed after injury

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

    Son > kdb for a hit?

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

      Nah

    2. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      No

    3. Totalfootball
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Go for it

    4. Shteve
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 1 day ago

      Same predicament and leaning towards a no

  3. Flicka
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 2 days ago

    Bottomed. For this gameweek:
    A) Son
    B) Rashford (-4)

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      A

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

      A

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

      A

    4. SilentLemonMan
        3 months, 1 day ago

        I have the exact same dilemma. Currently sticking with Son.

      • Salan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 1 day ago

        I like my players potentially playing 180 minutes, so would go option B.

    5. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Thoughts?

      Martinez
      Robbo Cancelo Holding*
      Salah Bruno Son* Soucek
      Vardy Bamford* Adams*

      Ramsdale Ayling Anguissa Taylor
      0ft 0.1itb
      * =sgw

      A) Adams to Watkins -4
      B) Ayling to Furlong/Lowton -4 and play over Holding/Adams
      C) no hits

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

      Bottomed out!

      Please help

      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

      1. Flicka
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Are you keeping Taylor? Will he even play? A big risk for a BB.

      2. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 1 day ago

        Play Watkins over Bamford and gtg

        1. Here's Tom with the We…
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          Thanks both. Think I’ll play Watkins and save bb

    7. Goonerly
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Would you prioritize getting Antonio or Ogbonna?
      Getting both would mean a -8 ....

      1. Amey
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Ogbonna

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

        Who you losing?

        1. Goonerly
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          Either Tierney or Adams.
          If only Tierney was fit, I would have my mind made up

    8. NATSTER
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Watkins or Antonio?

      Selling Martial.

    9. Toplad
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      This GW:

      A) Antonio
      B) Firmino

      Thanks in advance

      1. Big Chris Wood
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Firmino if you can afford

      2. NATSTER
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Interesting

      3. Relaxing
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 1 day ago

        Thinking of doing DCL to Firmino myself. None of the budget FWD options appeal

    10. Big Chris Wood
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Who would you pick Cavani or Antonio?

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

        Antonio - think Martial will play this GW

    11. Iceball
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 2 days ago

      Do you know anything more than that? Who are those players? Does Grealish have Covid?

      From 12th of January news: "... and Villa's Trezeguet has confirmed he was one of Villa's nine players to have been infected by the virus."

    12. GROBARI
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Best striker under £8.8m?

        1. Slurpy
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          Ings when fit

      • ch33kych4ppy
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Thoughts do you think Reece James will start now he has returned to fitness?

      • gstegnar
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        3 months, 2 days ago

        Would you transfer Son - Kane - Wood for Vardy - KDB - Wicham, get -8, BB in DGW19 and have 10 players on DGW?

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

          Just Kane to Vardy, save those -8

        2. Mr. Funny Name
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          If you captain kdb then I’d say so yes

      • The Red Devil
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 2 days ago

        A-Grealish+ Taylor+ Bednarek -> Salah+ Mitchell+ coufal (-8)
        Yay or nay?
        &
        B- Kdb TC- yay or nay?

        1. SilentLemonMan
            3 months, 1 day ago

            A Yay...just
            B not right now - looked exhausted against Brighton

        2. COK3Y5MURF
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 2 days ago

          Antonio purely a fixture pick? Smells like bit of a trap

        3. Gunner1290
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 2 days ago

          Will McCarthy play?

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

          Any news on Grealish?
          Grealish or Foden for DGW?

        5. Cometh The Aouar...
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          Who scores more in the DGW? Konsa or C Wilson?

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

            Wilson

            1. Cometh The Aouar...
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Cheers Miggy. He’s in my current starting XI

        6. Mr. Funny Name
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          A) Kane + Raphina -> Vardy(c) + Foden
          B) Kane + Rodrigo -> Vardy(c) + Antonio
          C) Kane + Maddison -> KDB(c) + Antonio

        7. Bambi
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          A) Kane and Son
          B) Vardy and Salah (-4)
          C) Kane and Mane
          D) Vardy and Son

          Which one guys?

        8. E25
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 1 day ago

          *DCL->Antonio pretty much locked in.
          Balbuena -> which city for a -4??
          A) Dias
          B) Stones
          C) Cancelo
          D) don't take hit and play Dallas

          McCarthy
          Robbo Lowton Konsa
          KDB Salah Bruno Grealish Soucek
          Bamford DCL*

          Forster / Dallas Balbuena Brewster

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

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

            Failed

          2. GROBARI
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Good comment 😀

          3. Steve The Spud
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 1 day ago

            Doubting my bench boost now with flappy a doubt still, should I go ahead ?

            Fabianski, bamford, holding, Smith Rowe

            1. RustyBz
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              that looks tragic, don't do it

            2. Big Chris Wood
              • 7 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Yeah I'm in the same boat with dallas Raphinha and Benderek on the bench

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

              No

          4. Zlatan F.C
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Repost: 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
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Anyone here considering captaining Vardy?

              I feel like he's being overlooked despite how both fixtures work in his favour in terms of counter-attacking- I even think vs Chelsea he's likely to bang 1 or 2 in.

              He's had a long rest (from a minor recurring injury) and is also fairly nailed for both fixtures when compared to KDB or Bruno for instance who are showing signs of fatigue.

              1. In a Rush
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                Yes I’m tempted have salah cap with Vardy vice at the moment

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

              Gundo or foden?

              1. royals forever
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                Foden

              2. Relaxing
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                Foden would be my preference

              3. Cometh The Aouar...
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                Yeah I have this dilemma. But does he start both?

            • royals forever
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              In your opinion what is the best 9m DF combo for this back 7 for the next few GWs

              Martinez Johnstone

              Stones Coufal Cancelo xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

              Any ideas would be welcomed

            • Flicka
              • 7 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Just realized I can bring in Salah but I'd have to lose Vardy.

              (A) Salah + Watkins/Antonio (-4)
              (B) Son + Vardy

              1. royals forever
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                A with Watkins

              2. Latch86
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                A

            • mdm
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              DCL to:

              A. Antonio
              B. Vardy

              Thanks.

              1. Latch86
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                A

              2. royals forever
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 1 day ago

                B

              3. rubberdignerapids
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                3 months, 1 day ago

                Vardy- fit, nailed on, on pens and can score against anyone

                whereas Antonio has zero form, has just come back from a long injury and there's no guarantee he will play both matches

                Saying that...I have both lol

            • Gudjohnsen
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 1 day ago

              Do you think Strujk will start for Leeds tomorrow?

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

                Yes phillips still banned