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. How I met your Mata
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 6 days ago

    A or B

    A Son and Foden
    B KDB and Adams

    1. FantasyHero
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      B

  2. unclesbasement
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Lets end this debate. If you were to triple captain this week which player would you chose?

      1. Boz
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        KDB

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

        Salah.

        Doubts over both kev and bruno playing both

      3. Scots Gooner
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        KBD for me

      4. Neevesy
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Salah

      5. AYLD28
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        It's strange. I'm Bench Boosting and going to go KDB but if I was triple Captaining I think I'd "risk it" on Salah. Two home games and I fancu pool to bounce back v United and then it's Burnley to follow

        1. boombaba
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 6 days ago

          That is strange

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

        Salah. No other players can give you 15+ points when he is benched and just come out to have a walk for 20 minutes.

      7. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Vardy

      8. Camzy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Salah.

      9. Hits from the Bong
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Salah

      10. Eddie - Back to Square Owen
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Kdb

      11. FantasyHero
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Sterling

      12. _Ninja_
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Salah

    • fplchampzzz
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Martial and Son to Salah and Antonio for - 4?
      Or kane and son to salah and Antonio for - 4?
      Any of the above worth it?

      1. xHaTr
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        first one worth it for me

    • xHaTr
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Bench one:

      A: Soucek

      B: Bamford

      C: Wilson

      1. Scoopy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Wilson

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

        wilson - newcastle are garbage

      3. teneighty
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Wilson

    • Marc Jobling
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      McCarthy
      Dias, Targett, Taylor, Mitchell
      Salah, Bruno, Son, Grealish, Soucek
      Kane, Bamford, DCL

      1 free transfer, £0.2m in the bank

      What would you do here? Names I'm considering are De Bruyne, Antonio and Coufal.

      1. AzzaroMax99
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        KDB & Antonio are priority imo. DCL & Son out maybe?

    • AzzaroMax99
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      My squad:

      McCarthy*
      Dias Robbo Cresswell
      Salah Bruno Son* Soucek
      Watkins Vardy Bamford*

      4.0 Dallas* Anguissa Mitchel*

      3 big dilemmas:

      a) Son to KDB for -4: y or n
      b) C to: 1) Salah 2) KDB (if I buy him)
      c) play BB with this squad: y or n

    • Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Based on teams nowadays, Antonio must be essential?

      1. AYLD28
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Easy move in for many.

        DCL injured.
        Cheap.
        Good double gameweek.
        Low ownership.

        Its a low risk, high reward move imo

      2. Rupert The Horse
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Not essential no

      3. b91jh
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Read it negatively and you will probably see a huge trap.

      4. Brosstan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Will get injured again and play at most 90 min total

    • seanie3
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      can't afford to get both KDB & Vardy into my team this week, so which one would you rather have for the dgw

      a) Vardy
      b) KDB

      1. Jonny HOW SON?
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        b

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

        definitely B

    • ABCDEFC
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Better move?
      A) Kane, Son, Balbuena to Antonio, KDB, Stones (-8)
      B) Kane and Balbuena to Vardy and Stones (-4)

    • BigAsGiroud_
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Mendy (Johnstone)
      Dias Coufal Justin Robertson (Ayling)
      Salah Bruno Soucek Grealish (JWP)
      Vardy Bamford (Wilson)

      For BB,
      1)JWP and Wilson to Mount and Antonio(-8)
      or
      2)Wilson to Antonio(-4)

    • Tsparkes10
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Lowton to stones for -4?

      1. ted mcnure
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Considering the same move...

        1. Tsparkes10
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 6 days ago

          Surely worth?

    • b91jh
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      A) KWP+4
      B) Cancelo
      C) Maguire

      Have Dias if it matters.

      1. Boly Would
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        B

    • Salan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Bottomed.

      Please choose one:

      Wood (whm & liv) or Bamford (BHA) ?

      1. elchilangles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        tough one, bamford potentially

    • Openboxman
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Guess who brought in Martial for a hit. Not knowing he was potentially injured! ME!

      any news on the injury?

      1. Brosstan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Chronic laziness syndrome, very poor prognosis

    • tinear
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 6 days ago

      1)Son + Robbo
      2)KdB + Ayling

      Which one?

      1. elchilangles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        1

    • Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Hello folks. Already on a -4 for DGW 19.

      Martinez
      Coufal Dias Stones Dallas
      KDB Bruno Salah Son
      Bamford Antonio

      Johnstone Adams Bednarek Bissouma

      A. Stick with team.
      B. Bissouma -> Soucek for -8 and bench Dallas.

      1. ted mcnure
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        A, -4 is enough!

    • Angelic upstart
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Who do I play in goal lloris or Johnstone?
      Johnstone has small possibility of clean sheet and likely save points.
      Lloris has a half chance of clean sheet, less likely save points and one fixture.

    • Huddersfield
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Best performers of the last 6 GWs are 5 Defenders and a defensive mid.

      Anybody giving the Armband to Cancelo, Robertson or Chilwell this GW?

    • CRO KLOPP
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Not playing BB,start one

      A) Fabianski
      B) Martinez

      1. elchilangles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        B

    • elchilangles
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Who would you rather play this week?????

      A) Justin (SOU, CHE)
      B) Rodrigo (BHA)

    • ZAWAd25
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Who would you have for DGW?

      A) Rashford
      B) Son

      1) Bamford
      2) Watkins

      1. AzzaroMax99
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        A2

    • Matsy123
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Bb this for -4?

      Johnstone Adams Coufal Dallas

      1. Tsparkes10
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Yes

      2. how now brown cow
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        4 + 2 + 8 + 6.

        Maybe.

    • elwardio
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      GTG? ERS over struijk correct?

      De gea
      Stones cancelo coufal (struijk,Mitchell)
      Fernandes kdb salah rashford ERS
      Vardy Antonio (Brewster)

    • Hits from the Bong
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      A. Antonio
      B. Wilson

    • lekalatch
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Do we reckon Cancelo getting two starts? Are Stones/Dias more nailed?

      1. boombaba
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        Dias most nailed.

    • how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Is it only me that thought martial was pretend-limping after a really powder-puff shot the other night?

      Bet he's fine.

      1. Bennerman
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        I did wonder whether he was putting one on after missing that chance.

        Seems from what Ole said there must have been at least some kind of issue, though.

    • beetlejuice
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Any news on Antonio?

    • RyanC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Pretty obvious Bench Boost, right?

      Martinez (Johnstone)
      Robbo Chilwell Stones Coufal (Dallas)
      Salah KDB Bruno Soucek (Raphinha)
      Antonio Watkins (Bamford)

      Built for the DGW with plans to BB over recent weeks so disappointed to lose the Leeds double. But that BRI fixture is still a good one.

      Got to stick with Plan A here, right?

    • alfast1c
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Mendy
      AWB, Chilwell, Dias, Cresswell
      Bruno, Salah, KDB, Grealish
      Wilson, Watkins

      What u think of this FREE HIT team ?

      Can get Cancelo for Wilson ?

      1. boombaba
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 6 days ago

        When did Cancelo become a striker?

        1. alfast1c
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 6 days ago

          smartass.
          Than i will play 5 4 1.

    • L S P
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 6 days ago

      Any opinions on these mulled-over transfers?

      A) Targett->Coufal
      B) Targett/Lacazette->Coufal/Antonio OR Cavani for -4
      C) Robbo/Laca->Coufal/Vardy for -4