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. mdm
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Son to Salah for -4? Yes or No?

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

      For Salah (C) then maybe

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

      Not for me. Need both imo

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

        Cant have both..

    3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Can't you have both?

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

        No. But have also Kane (if it matters)

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

      Absolutely yes.

      I find many ppl here very hesitating to do this similar move.

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

    Sorry if this has been said already, but regarding the article - surely if you're in a position to save a transfer then it means your squad is in good shape? So you're not doing well because you saved a transfer, you are doing well therefore you can save a transfer.

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

      hahah Chicken and the egg stuff, isn't it

    2. boombaba
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      You actually read that?

      1. Marknlard
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        First few paragraphs, yeah

  3. Slurpy
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Any Vardy owners worried that he's only scored twice at home this season with two home games?

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

      No- home/away form mean very little without crowds this season

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

        I just mean he's been far more prolific on the road this season

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

          Yes, but unlike previous season, that data has little validity- I suppose you can argue about travel fatigue or varying pitch sizes...but it's like the Bruno argument when he had a crazy away record this season- that myth was busted too.

          I think with a player like Vardy, it depends on the opposition and his form- I'm expecting him to do well this dgw having had a significant rest since when he last played and he himself is a stats buster with low xG

    2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Naa. Getting him for Kane. How many will Kane score?

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

        Same, at least 3 for Kane

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

      I also fancy Vardy against Chelsea who won't sit deep and will suit their counter-attacking style- maybe a couple of goals even

  4. mdm
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    DCL to:

    A. Antonio
    B. Vardy

    Thanks

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

      B if you can afford it

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

      B- see other page for why

    3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Vardy

    4. Flicka
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Definitely B

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

      Come on... they are in 2 different price bracket

  5. Latch86
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    A or B?

    (A) Balbuena + Adams + Kane > Stones + Antonio + Vardy | 0.2 ITB, -8

    (B) Balbuena + Kane > Stones + Vardy | 0.4 ITB, -4, play Bamford

    Rest of team:

    Johnstone
    Justin, Robertson, Coufal, ______
    Salah, Fernandes, Son, Soucek
    ______, ______

    McCarthy | Bamford, Dallas, Anguissa

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

    Maguire or Cresswell? (own Coufal)

    1. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Maguire

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

        I fancy Maguire to get a goal he’s due. But he’s on 4 yellows and against Fulham or Liverpool he could easily get one and be suspended. Cresswell probably safer and on set pieces

    2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Maguire

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

        Switched to cresswell as I found out Maguire a yellow away from suspension. Has to avoid yellow against both Liverpool & Fulham (pacey front lines)

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 11 days ago

          Good call!

    3. Wild Card this...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Cresswell

  7. Tsparkes10
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    McCarthy, Robo, Adams to Martinez/De gea, Dias, Antonio/Watkins (-8)?

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

    Triple Cap:

    A - Salah
    B - Ederson
    C - Hold (no BB)

    Ta

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

      B

    2. Flicka
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      A

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

      C

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

    Good luck for the weekend everyone!

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

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

    Subs: McCarthy, Lookman*, Pieters*, Dallas

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

      Nice team, I'm jealous. GL

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

      Looks good!

  10. ch33kych4ppy
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

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

    Bottomed

    1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Yes he will. And he is in my team now.

      1. ch33kych4ppy
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        He is in mine to, returned to fitness just in time as Leeds Southampton non dbl game week scuppered plans

  11. WHUFCSmith23
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 11 days ago

    That was an excellent article. Let the chips fall where they may

  12. faux_C
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    I've got 11 DGWers and a bench full of Leeds.

    Would you BB to get these off the bench?

    McCarthy, Bamford, Raphina, Ayling

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

      Yes

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

      Yeah

    3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Yes

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

      Yeah

    5. faux_C
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Pretty unanimous, cheers.

  13. Tsparkes10
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    A) Salah to Sterling
    B) Robo to Dias

    1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      B

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

      B

  14. Ha.
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Antonio not “missing” by Moyes... does that mean he’s available?

  15. BEEZUS
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    BBing this week but can only get Salah and KdB both if I take a -8, which leaves the question:

    A) Pope, Mane, KdB, Antonio (-4)
    B) Pope, Salah, Sterling, Antonio (-4)
    C) Areola, Salah, KdB, Antonio (-8)

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

    Which one:

    A) Bowen+B.Johnson+Son to Soucek+Coufal+Kdb for -8(4-4-2)

    B) Bowen+Adams+Son to Soucek+Antonio+Kdb for -8(3-4-3)

    ?? Most likely using TC on Salah or Kdb

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

      A - not sure on Antonio's fitness and I wouldn't TC this GW

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

        Yeah, exactly why I'm considering not getting him in.. But never liked playing 4 defenders, oh well. Why not TC?

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

    RP - 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*)

  18. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Does this look ok? Who do I captain?

    Martinez
    Stones James Coufal
    Salah KDB Bruno Son Soucek
    Vardy Bamford

    Steere Holding Mitchell Davis

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

      KDB (c)

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        Looked super tired. But has the best fixtures amongst all the big boys.

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

      GTG - toss-up between KDB and Salah for cap. I'm currently leaning towards a rested Salah.

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        Me too. But then I also feel Pool Utd will be 1-1. KDB though is super knackered. Vardy maybe?

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

          Vardy is such a frustrating player and even more so as cap.

          1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 11 days ago

            True.

  19. royals forever
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    RP

    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

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

      Mitchell + Reece James (not sure on his price?)

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

      what's the aim for the last 2 positions? e.g. will you normally play 3ATB so one bench playing def and one fodder? Are you BB this GW?

  20. Black Knights
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Laca & Brewster to Wilson & Antonio -4 if it gives me this?

    Martinez*
    Dias*, Coufal*, Ayling
    KdB*, Bruno*, Grealish*, Son
    Wilson*, Antonio*, Kane

    McCarthy, Holding, Dier, Raphinha

  21. RealSocialDads
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Who to lose for Salah as part of a hit:

    A. Kane (would keep Son)
    B. Bruno
    C. Neither, buy a huge sofa

    Will be capping KDB regardless

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

      C
      A
      B

      in that order

    2. elwardio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      A C B is order for me

    3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      A

  22. youneedmorecavaleiro
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    I WCed in 16 with the intent of bench boosting this DGW but I probably shouldn't anymore?

    Johnstone - McCarthy
    TAA - Robbo - Dias - Bednarek - Balbuena
    Salah - Bruno - Son - Soucek - Rapinha
    Adams - Bamford - Tammy

    0.1 ITB, 1 FT - what do I do here???

    Do I just field 11? How should I use FT?

  23. PrestigeWorldwidewidewide..…
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 11 days ago

    A. DCL** + Podence** + Dallas* > Antonio + Soucek + Zouma (-8)
    B. DCL** + Dallas* > Antonio + Zouma (-4)
    C. DCL** + Podence** > Antonio + Soucek (-4)
    D. Podence** > Soucek (Free)

    *Single GW
    **Injured

  24. TheDragon
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    How does this look for this week? Not Bench Boosting might triple captain

    Martinez
    Dias, Robertson, Dallas*
    Salah, KDB, Fernandes, Grealish
    Antonio, Bamford*, Adams*
    Johnstone | KWP, Mitchell, Bissouma

    A) Good to go
    B) KWP -> Coufal (bench Adams) (-4)
    C) Adams -> Watkins (-4)
    D) Something more drastic

  25. SH1M1
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Is it worth taking a -4 to get Watkins IN for Adams ?

  26. Pep Roulette
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    Is Foden a good option for upcoming gameweeks?

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

      All city forwards are coming to full fitness but I'd still say yes

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

      Not sure on game time so that is enough for me to completely disregard him

  27. Please Answer Me
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    I can't make my mind up.

    A) Antonio
    B) Watkins

    Antonio has better fixtures but he feels a lot more risky

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

      A

    2. RealSocialDads
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Antonio is exciting, Watkins safer due to mins being secured

    3. Sous Chef
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Probably A but just brace yourself for failure

  28. Runaway
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    For next 3-4 GWs:

    A) Salah

    B) Vardy

    * both is not an option

    1. El Lobito 10
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Vardy if you reinvest the 2m well elsewhere

  29. El Lobito 10
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 11 days ago

    TC Cancelo?

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

      Do it

      1. El Lobito 10
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        Lol like you aren't laughing your arse off when typing that! 😀

    2. Sous Chef
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Bold

      1. El Lobito 10
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 11 days ago

        Won't do it, too risky

  30. Veron125
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Team
      Ederson - bench - areola
      Chilwell Dias Cresswell - bench dallas and shaw
      KDB Fernandes Son Soucek - bench Harrison
      Bamford /Antonio -
      third striker not sure - Vardy/Firmino?

      or drop son for salah and cheaper striker - thoughts?