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. gellinmagellan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Is it crazy to go without KDB this gw?

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

      Very

    2. highsguy
        3 months, 3 days ago

        Feel like anyone with a lot of value tied up in Kane Son Salah have to go without KDB, myself included

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

          Value should never interfere with making decisions. It should be considered.

          Will KdB outscore Son and Kane in the next few weeks? If you think the answer is yes, you should move to make the switch regardless of losing the value.

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

            To clarify, when I mean considered, I mean, taken into consideration in terms of fund allocation but it should never be a reason you keep a player who you think will not score as well as another.

            1. highsguy
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Yeah you're right. I think what I meant is I would eventually want to bring one of those three back (if I had to take one out for KDB), and probably wouldn't be able to do so without a reshuffle.

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

          If easy route then yes. If only possibility is dropping Salah for him then no

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

            These are the routes, will have to lose both Son and Kane

            A) Son + Kane > KDB + Martial
            B) Son + Kane > KDB + Antonio (leaves 3 ITB)

        3. gogs67
            3 months, 3 days ago

            If he blanks then it's a great move, if he hauls then you'll be wondering why you didn't have him.

          • V-2 Schneiderlin
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Think so but can understand the dilemma if you have Kane and Son

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

              I have both and will have to lose both to accommodate him, other option is remove Salah/Fernandes

          • boombaba
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            I am keeping Son. Great fixture and KDB may not play full mins.

          • Yes Ndidi
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 3 days ago

            No, but the next few weeks look good for City as well. I could only do it this week by taking Son out and taking a hit, and I can't bring myself to do that, based on how leggy he looked the other night.

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

              I'm in the same position. My options are

              A) Son + Kane > KDB + Martial
              B) Son + Kane > KDB + Antonio (leaves 3 ITB)

              And I don't want to lose both Son and Kane tbh

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

            I think so.

        4. highsguy
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Worth a -8?

            Adams Raphinha Dallas OUT
            Antonio Lookman Stones IN

            1. manu4life99
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Yes

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

              No

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

              Nah

            4. V-2 Schneiderlin
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              I'm not a fan of Lookman as an owner for the past 5 weeks - Soucek instead?

              1. highsguy
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Have Soucek. Thinking I might just avoid transferring Raph. But want Adams>Antonio so I might do McCarthy>Areola instead.

            5. manu4life99
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Is Saiss a rotation risk given Nuno comments?

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

                Saiss is a risk regardless of Nunos comments no?

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

                What comments?

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

              No KDB. Captain:

              A) Salah
              B) Bruno
              C) Soucek
              D) Cresswell

              1. KAPTAIN KANE
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                A

              2. El Fenomeno R9
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                A

              3. V-2 Schneiderlin
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                A

              4. Gudjohnsen
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                A

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

              Anyone know if Grealish is fit to play in the upcoming DGW?

            8. manu4life99
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Rash or Salah(-4)

              1. Cookie Kid
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Salah

            9. Tsparkes10
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              A) Robo, Raph to Dias, Foden (-4) (bench McCarthy, Lowton, Dallas, Adams)

              B) McCarthy, Robo, Lowton, Adams to Martinez, Dias, Stones, Antonio (-12) and bb with Johnstone, Dallas, Raph, Bamford

              1. DV8R
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                That -12 is insane and I would avoid

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

              I don't know which of the Villa players had or still have COVID. Would love more info.

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

                The fact grealish hasnt been seen reversing into anything for a while is worrying.

            11. V-2 Schneiderlin
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              any thoughts on this FH team?

              Johnstone (Areola)
              Targett, Coufal, Stones,
              Salah, Fernandes, KDB (c), Foden, Soucek
              Antonio, Vardy

              (Clark, Ajaji, Brewster)

              1. El Fenomeno R9
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Some risky players on FH there,Target and Bruno on 4 YC not sure Foden will play both.
                Would get more attacking defense with Cancelo

                1. V-2 Schneiderlin
                  • 10 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  thanks, good point re. Targett - didn't know that - Fernandes though I will have to risk given high ownership in general I'm not willing to risk leave him out

            12. El Fenomeno R9
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Better option lads?

              A) Maguire + Wilson ➡️ Cancelo + Antonio (-4)

              B) Maguire ➡️ Cancelo

              C) Regulion ➡️ Cancelo

              1. Mcgugan
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                A is moving 2 DGWers to 2 other DGWers.
                I think C is your best option there, but why not do Wilson > Antonio

                1. El Fenomeno R9
                  • 5 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Yes that is ok move,want Cancelo long term too.
                  Maguire could easy become SGW player with Pool away if he gets YC.

            13. Gun gun
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              So antonio fit?

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

                90 min in cup the other day

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

                  Still fit

            14. Cookie Kid
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Mane to KDB for -4?

              TC on Salah

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

              Bottomed:

              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

            16. Pedersen
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Is it worth doing: Son -> Bruyne (-4)?. Would keep Bruyne to gw 23 then

              1. Gudjohnsen
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Yes

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

                I'd say yes, especially if you will captain and are holding KDB

              3. yalala
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Kdb is a trap, don't get trapped

              4. tinear
                • 1 Year
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Im on the same boat. What a headache.

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

                Peproulette might end up playing him 1game only, which is why I am hesitant. Actually want 2 city defs, but all my defs are keepers...

            17. JJeyy
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Who scores more this week - Antonio or Coufal?

              1. GenerationalTalent
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Coufal imo

            18. yalala
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              TC Soucek let's go

              1. Gudjohnsen
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                You're joking right?

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

                  Just watch!

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

              Do we think fabianski makes it ? Maybe 1 of the 2

              1. CRO KLOPP
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                I agree,I am benching him and playing Martinez

            20. Gudjohnsen
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              And the standout captain this gw is?

              1. V-2 Schneiderlin
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                KDB

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

                there is no stand out captain..

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

                There are two standout captains.

                KdB and Salah.

                Between the two there are strong pros for both and it comes down to which set of strengths you feel will get you a bigger score.

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

                  This

              4. GenerationalTalent
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Salah / KDB
                Mind you, I’m going for Vardy

            21. rnrd
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              is Cresswell justifying the price difference with coufal?

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

                Over the piece, yes

            22. alfast1c
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

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

              What u think of this FREE HIT team ?

              1. DV8R
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                I think Vardy is worth getting over some defenders.

            23. Gudjohnsen
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Sacrice Kane to get Vardy

              Or

              Sacrifce Son to get Salah

              1. GenerationalTalent
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Salah

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

              So fabianski might not be fit for the first game.
              Anyone know if Martinez is a risk? Not sure what villa situation is

              1. Mcgugan
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                No news, but I think worst case he plays 1. Wouldn't think he is a risk really. If it is him or Fab i'd start Martinez

            25. GenerationalTalent
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              My squad, 1M itb :
              Johnstone
              Dias Cancelo Coufal Justin
              Salah Bruno Foden Soucek
              Vardy Bamford

              Martinez, Son, Dallas, Adams

              Used my free transfer and am going to BB, but is Adams -> Antonio for a -4 worth it still?

              1. Yes Ndidi
                • 1 Year
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Yes. 2 good fixtures vs 1 meh one. Should repay the 4 with interest.

            26. Mcgugan
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              KDB Triple Captain? If I knew he was starting both I would, just slightly concerned. And maybe a chance somebody gets a triple GW in the future?

            27. TheBiffas
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Opinions?

                A) Fabianski + Mitchell
                B) Fabianski + 4.6 defender (not WHU) -4
                C) Martinez + Dawson or other 4.6 defender

                1. TheBiffas
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    (bench boosting)

                  • Mcgugan
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 10 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    C comfortably.

                  • STONEROSES
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 7 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    C.

                  • GenerationalTalent
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    C

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

                  A) Kane/Raphinha to Antonio/KDB (-4), TC KDB
                  B) -8 to BB, squad as follows

                  Martinez
                  James Dias Cresswell Cancelo
                  Salah Bruno Grealish Soucek
                  Antonio Kane

                  Johnstone Bamford Raphinha Dallas

                  Which to go?

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

                  Worth bench boosting with 5 SGW players (McCarthy, Dallas, Bamford, Son, Brewster) ?

                4. De Gea is GOAT
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Are we expecting more team news before deadline guys? Thanks

                5. camarozz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Kdb➡️Salah was my hokey dokey plan for this period.

                  Last time I decided to back out on this very same plan Salah did really well.

                  So I'm asking should I not over think it and stick to the plan?

                  Well rested Salah v tired Kdb?

                6. Gun gun
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Capt ster vc salah
                  Or capt ster vc foden?

                  1. GenerationalTalent
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    VC Salah. Don’t captain and vice captain players from same team