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. Rushfort
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Good day!

    Would you pull the BB chip for this lot?

    Martinez
    Chilwell, Justin, Cresswell, Dias
    Grealish, Salah, Fernandes, Son,
    Bamford, Kane

    Bench: Mccarthy, Dallas, saka, brewster

    Possible Hits (used FT from DCL -> Bamford):

    1) Dallas & Saka to Stones & Soucek = -8
    2) Dallas & Saka to Coufal & Gundogan = -8
    3) Dallas & Saka to Stones * Gundogan = -8

    TY LADS!

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

      Probably not

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

      A out of those

      Assume you are short of doing Dallas > Stones for -4?

  2. YoungPretender
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    This worth it?

    TAA, DCL & Son > Dias, Antonio & KDB (-8)?

    Dont love the idea of losing TAA but cant get KDB in any other way really.

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

      I'd be very nervous of that one but it could work out obviously.

      KDB hasn't shown me he is worth a -8 hit to get him in recently - despite fixtures

  3. BEEZUS
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 26 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)

    1. cigan
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I like A

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

    Bench 2 out of
    Che Adams (lei), Lowton (whu,liv) , Dallas (BHA)

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

      I'd play Dallas - best fixture and opportunity to score

    2. BeWater
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Definitely bench Adams. With the other two it's more difficult. I would maybe take a chance on Dallas. He may even end up at centre mid if Ayling goes back to RB and Alioski stays LB.

    3. tabby98
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

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

      1ft
      What’s transfers should i make here and should i still bench boost?

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

      Allllllrighty then this is me for this GW. Have held off on McCarthy to Martinez for a hit. May change my mind. All in order?

      McCarthy
      Robbo, Cancelo, Cresswell
      KdB(c), Salah(vc), Bruno, Grealish, Raphinha
      Antonio, Bamford

      4.0, Dallas, Lowton, Brewster...

      1.3 itb 0ft no hits

      1. TheDragon
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Not concerned about KDB getting a rest?

        Triple captain?

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

          I would be triple captaining him if I wasnt slightly worried about his fatigue levels

          1. TheDragon
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            I really want to.....

            Confident in Antonio’s minutes?

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

              West Ham dont really have any other options do they, Id be happy with 120 minutes anyway

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

        Gtg. Soucek would tempt me for Raph but u have a couple of hammers so good call probably and not worth a hit

      3. ted mcnure
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        gtg

      4. Don Kloppeone
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Looks great - extremely jealous of your no hits.... see my disaster below!!

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

      How 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

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

        I'd do B

    6. HeyHeyDembo
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Play one in GW19:
      A) Grealish
      B) Bamford
      C) Holding

      1. El Lobito 10
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A by a mile

    7. El Lobito 10
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Salah. Overpriced, poor form, tough fixtures ahead. I mean, if you won't captain him, he isn't worth it, and KdB/Bruno/Kane look like the standout captains in the next weeks

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

        This was my plan and then I caved

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

        Lovely. Spread the word

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

        I now only have Salah and Bruno of those 4 so I will just have to stick with them (+ maybe Son) as my captain options for now!

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

        Find this comment quite funny given Salah has proven season after season he's worth it.

        He's also scored earlier this season vs. the opponents directly after the DGW whilst the others you've listed did not.

      5. Gazwaz80
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Precisely what I have done, KDB for Salah, gotta risk it for a biscuit 😉

      6. cigan
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Vardy

    8. Rhodes your boat
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      A) kwp to coufal
      B) Kane to vardy

      Could do both for -4

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Just a . Kane has a very nice fixture.

        1. Rhodes your boat
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          My thoughts too, could do yedlin to Dawson instead of A?

          1. Ajax Hamsterdam
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Is Dawson nailed on the long run though?

            1. Rhodes your boat
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Not sure, had balbuena who seemed to be nailed beforehand, might just go coufal seems to get forward too

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

        Still got Son?

        Both looks good

        1. Rhodes your boat
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Still have son yep, vardy is that one player who I don’t seem to like owning and being a non-owner!

          1. Boly Would
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            I've got Son, and think I'll probably do Kane to Vardy

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

            I know what you mean. But brought him in this week anyway!

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

      No news from Aston Villa? Are most of them ready to play?

    10. Don Kloppeone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      So I decided to take the plunge and go for a YOLO attitude this week and attack the Bench Boost - not often I take a -8 but to unlock a good bench it felt worth it.
      Issue is, I confirmed my transfers and realised too late I had taken a -12 and not a -8 :O 😆

      So now I start the GW on a -12.... lovely ..... not that I have a choice, am I G2G with this BB team?!

      Martinez (x2), Johnstone (x2)
      Robbo (x2), Dias (x2), Stones (x2), Coufal (x2), Dallas
      Salah (x2) (C), Bruno (x2), Son, Soucek (x2), Raphinha
      Vardy (x2), Antonio (x2), Bamford

      GL to all - I just hope my red arrow isn't too large - at least I have got rid of the BB headache for future weeks 😉

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

        Surely, you havent come all this way(-12) to back out of BB now 🙂 GL to you too.

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

          Haha nah I can't back out - it's the only possibility of regaining all those lost points!!

      2. Rushfort
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        The headache is real..

        Well obviously we dint get an on form WHU with that fixtures every year!

        GTG!

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

          Gotta go for things sometimes 😉

      3. Rhodes your boat
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Great side for this week to be fair! Good luck hope the -12 pays off, although hope vardy blanks 😉

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

          He probably will knowing my luck!

          Obviously my main fear is KDB but couldn't do it without fielding a much weaker team

      4. Tsparkes10
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Love it 🙂 I’m thinking v similar... GL mate

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

          You too matey. Literally never taken a -12. Fml. 😆

          1. Tsparkes10
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            I’m thinking McCarthy, Robo, Lowton, Adams to Martinez, Dias, Stones, Antonio and bb

    11. vandebeek
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      So, if Balbuena is isolating, Dawson is almost 100% nailed, isn't he?
      So should i go for:
      A) Dawson+Ziyech
      B)Coufal+ Maddison (or whoever else below 8.0m)?

      1. Werner Bros
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        B

    12. Rondon9
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Who would you play this GW?

      A Dallas (BHA)
      B Holding (NEW)

      Cheers

      1. Werner Bros
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Probably A for attacking threat.

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

        A

    13. Werner Bros
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Really tricky decisions for GW19 team. Would appreciate any thoughts on the below options.

      Need City cover and really want KDB but finding it hard to find the best route.

      A: Chilwell > Cancelo
      B: Rashford Vardy > KDB Antonio (-4)
      C: Vardy Rashford Riedewald > KDB Antonio 6.0 (-8)

      Martinez
      Chilwell Dallas Coufal Balbuena Neco
      Salah Bruno Son Rashford Riedewald
      Vardy Bamford Watkins

      1FT 0ITB

      1. Tosa86
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        why sell vardy?

      2. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Not keen on any of these moves

      3. Werner Bros
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I don't want to sell Vardy but also can't see a way to KDB otherwise without selling someone I don't want to lose.

        Am I going to have to accept that I can't get KDB into that team for GW19?

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

          Could just risk it and go without KDB this week. Very similar ownership levels so it's a straight shootout.

          Would of course give Kev the tip due to fixtures, but he's not had his shooting boots on this season.

          Still a good transfer target after 19 though.

          1. Werner Bros
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            I think I might have to. Unless you have another suggestion.

            If I go without KDB would you say that A is a good move though?

    14. Paulybaby123
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Is Maguire out of the Fulham game if booked v Liverpool?

        1. Ajax Hamsterdam
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Yes

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

          Yes and Fernandes would be as well.

      • Black Knights
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Laca & Brewster to Wilson & Antonio -4 worth it if it gives me two more DGWers?

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

        McCarthy, Holding, Raphinha, Dier

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

        Just going Salah (c) for security of starts.

        1. Rhodes your boat
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Same here

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

          Agree

      • Davidwes
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Best defender under 5,4 excluding city and west ham?

        1. Ajax Hamsterdam
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Cresswell

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

            Bruh

          2. TheBiffas
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Excluding city and west ham ^. I'd say R James

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

                Yeah thathas my thinking right now. But is he secured to start both games?

                1. TheBiffas
                    2 months, 26 days ago

                    can't answer that one for u mate

          3. Toplad
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            This GW, which one:

            A) KDB, Antonio
            B) Son, Firmino

            Thanks

          4. Hryszko
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            BBGW19 Team good to go? Captain choice etc?

            Martinez
            Stones - Dier - Holding
            Salah - KDB (c) - Bruno - Soucek
            Kane - Antonio - Bamford

            Bench: Meslier - Dallas - Anguissa - Coufal

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

            Villa 35 self isolating then 14 pos last week - now 9 players same as Man City before the Chelsea fixture

          6. swanseag55
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            I took out Salah for Rashford last week with the intention of getting Salah straight back in. However shall I get Salah in for Son? Really want Son as think he will do well but Rashford has two away games and his away form is good. Could also keep Rashford the next week as he has Sheff Utd where Son has Liverpool. Or am I over thinking and just do what I originally planned to do?

            1. Ajax Hamsterdam
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Son to salah

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

              I did Salah for Son at a -4, with Rashford in my side.
              Son could still do well, but I reckon this is the better move.

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

            Anyone considering Mané as captain?

            1. AllThePies
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Would definitely if I had him

          8. TheDragon
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Which scores more this week?

            A) Adams + 4
            B) Coufal
            C) Watkins

            1. ted mcnure
              • 10 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              B

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

            **Would really appreciate the help, my team is

            Martinez
            Cancelo Justin Dias Coufal
            Mane Grealish Salah Fernandez Soucek
            Bamford

            Bench - 4.0, Wood, Dallas, Adams

            Should I
            A) keep it as it is, no chip
            B) keep it as it is, play BB
            C) Watkins for Adams (-4) play BB
            D) Johnstone for 4.0 gk, Antonio for Bamford Watkins for Wood (-12) play BB.

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

            What do I do with Fabianksi? Moyes basically saying it is 50/50!!

            Take a hit to move it out for another DGW?

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

            names of 9 Villa players not released but some back to training this Sat

            1. Westfield Irons ⭐️
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              what chance we see training pics on saturday before the deadline? where might they be posted?

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

              Im wondering also, have Grealish and ready to BB but it would be annoying if noplay from him.
              Game is in 5 days from now, maybe most of them will be back, and we dont know which of them have/had Covid.

          12. Hooky
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Anyone know why Pep played Jesus at left midfield when he brought him on the other day? He managed to lose the ball 5 times in his first 2 minutes on the pitch which I thought was almost Walcott-esque

          13. b91jh
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Button, KWP, DCL to Johnstone, Cancelo, Antonio (-8) and BB?
            Will get 11DGWers plus triple Leeds and Kane.

            Otherwise they will stay on the bench alongside Raphinha.