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. PP6
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    United fans captaining Salah are not a United fan

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

      They might be and just choose who they think will score the most points. Hardy means they’ll be cheering him on come Sunday

    2. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      I do tend to have that unsaid rule that I don't captain players who are playing against my team (United). But I can see why some players would, espeicially since it's a double. I would 100% not do it though. Can't even have that 0.00001% of me cheering for Salah to do something.

  2. TheBiffas
      3 months, 3 days ago

      opinions on craig dawson? nailed to start both games?

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

        Coufal far superior if you can stretch

        1. TheBiffas
            3 months, 3 days ago

            already got him

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

              Might be worth a punt then. Balbuena isolating

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

                What's the situation on Diop tho?

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

        Start one:

        A: Wilson

        B: Dallas

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

          Tough.
          But you’ve gotta go with the striker playing twice really

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

            My thoughts too. Only takes one dodgy penalty and he is probably on for a double digit score

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

        Adams to Antonio for a -4?

        And would you rather start Soucek or Antonio if you had both?

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

          So you'd effectively be doing a -4 for Antonio over Soucek. That is a hard no from me.

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

            I can't even pull the trigger on Adams > Antonio for free and play him ove Bamford!

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

            No - which one I bring in for a -4 effectively. I don't have either right now.

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

              I'd rather Soucek. Nailed for 90 in both games.

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

                Interesting, i'm leaning the other way but it is very close.

      4. FPL Kaka
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 3 days ago

        Is Vardy risky this week?

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

          no

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

        Worth BBwith 5 SGW players (McCarthy Dallas Bamford Son Brewster) ?

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

          Yes

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

            Cheers

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

              Just for more detail, you have to expect a return from some of those guys.

              Son is too good to bench so looks good. Presuming Mcarthy is back so go for it.

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

          Brewster...

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

          Brewster ...
          Nahhh

        4. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          Brewster is basically a 1 pointer.
          Is McCarthy 100% back and sure to start? I'm not sure.
          Dallas and Bamford look good. But can they cover Brewster and McCarthy with just one game? Not sure again!

          Not counting Son as he would be starting for you.

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

        Taylor to Dias or Cancelo?

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

          Dias

          1. Come on you Kante
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Cancelo

      7. zhi zhi
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 3 days ago

        What would your team be if u had Free Hit?

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

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

          (Clark, Ajaji, Brewster)

          1. zhi zhi
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Cool
            Me- Johnstone
            Cancelo, Cresswell, Chillwell
            Soucek, Rashford, Salah, KDB, Ziyech
            Vardy, Antonio

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

          Martinez
          Cancelo Stones Robbo Cresswell
          KDB Salah Bruno Rashford Soucek
          Antonio

          Fodder bench

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

            nice - basically choosing Robbo over Vardy - could work

        3. lekalatch
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 3 days ago

          Alisson
          Stones Chilwell Coufal Cresswell
          Salah Mane KDB Gundogan
          Vardy Antonio

          This is mine

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

          Johnstone
          Robertson Cancelo Chilwell
          KdB Salah Pulisic Soucek Foden
          Vardy Cavani

          Something like that. I'd probably take the chance that Fernandes gets booked vs Pool and is banned.

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

        pope,son.wilson to ederson,gundogan,vardy for -4???

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

        Coufal scores more than Antonio this week, but most want the exciting play

        1. PP6
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          True but I need a striker not a defender

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

            Cant play 4 atb instead?

            1. PP6
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Happy with my whole defense and would be holding Che Adams instead

              Your right tho he does get outscored by Coufal

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

          Get Soucek then
          Both excitement + points 🙂

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

            have him already

      10. 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??

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

          As I chose him over Dias - yes

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

          lots of opportunities for major fraudulence this week ,inc KDB,too tired to take a penalty ,go right away manchester city ,clown organisation...

        3. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          Can't guess with Pep. He could start on the left as well. If you have him, no point wondering. If you're looking to buy between him and Dias, Dias looks a safer bet atm. But long term, Cancelo might outscore Dias. If you're looking to double up with Dias, just get him and keep. Not many defenders better than him and it's not like you're buying him just for the double. Next 5 fixtures look good and he should start at least 4 of them.

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

        Who plays more minutes this week?

        A) Vardy

        B) Antonio

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

          A

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

          A - he's had his rest?

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

          A by a mile.

        4. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          A

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

        Pick one pls

        A KDB Foden Antonio (-4)
        B Son Foden Vardy
        C KDB Adams Vardy
        D Kane Foden Vardy

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

          B

        2. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          A

      13. fplfansss
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 3 days ago

        Which one? 1FT, 2.3ITB
        A. Stephens to Gundogan
        B. Stephens to Foden
        C. DCL to Laca
        D. DCL to Werner
        E. Son to KDB and DCL to Brewster for -4

      14. 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?

        It's for free too. No chips used either

        1. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          Salah if you must choose. We've seen what rest does to you. Rest can play a huge part.
          I'd try to find a way to fit both.

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

            Have Bruno/Ziyech/Kane/
            Grealish so difficult to fit in

            1. WE GO FOR IT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              I'd lose Grealish/Ziyech to try anf fit both. But both can be good differentials.

      15. FPL Kaka
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 3 days ago

        Are these moves OK or too risky?

        Mane and Kane - - > KDB and Vardy

        1. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          I wouldn't remove Mane

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

        1ft. Bb was the og plan but not sure anymore.

        A) Dier to Stones
        B) Kane &Dier to Vardy& Stones or spend more for Cancelo (-4)
        C) some -8 boom

        Johnstone Mccarthy
        Robbo Justin Coufal Dallas Dier
        Salah Bruno Son Soucek Raphinha
        Kane Bamford Adams

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

          Adams also not good option, no dgw and quite bad fixtures for the future

        2. WE GO FOR IT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 3 days ago

          8 SGWers.

          Unless you really want to get the BB out of the way, I wouldn't BB.

          I'd lose one of Son or Kane with Adams/Raphinha to get KdB and some cheapr option like Lookman/Antonio.

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

            True. No bb seems reasonable even though Leeds' Brighton fixture does not seem bad.

      17. maksud
          3 months, 3 days ago

          Chances of Jesus starting both? I mean with Aguero out....he should start both ?

          1. WE GO FOR IT
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            I mean surely cause the likes of Sterling Torres Bernado and KdB haven't played there before right?

            I mean don't get me wrong! Jesus could start both but there is no 'should' in it! And chances are low.

            1. maksud
                3 months, 3 days ago

                I know that..but they mostly played false nine with the likes of torres n etc when both Jesus and Aguero were unfit.

          2. Sturridge Wars
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Johnstone or Areola ?

            1. WE GO FOR IT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Areola

          3. FPL Kaka
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Which one can be overlooked this week?

            A) Mane

            B) Vardy

            C) KDB

            1. WE GO FOR IT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              A
              Assuming you have Salah already

          4. zhi zhi
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            A. KDB and Salah
            B. Mane and Sterling
            C. KDB and Sterling
            D. Salah and Mane
            E. KDB and Mane
            F. Sterling and Salah

            ?? hehehe

            1. WE GO FOR IT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Could've just wrote pick 2 out of the 4!

              KdB and Salah

              1. zhi zhi
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                hehe.. right ...

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

              A

          5. OptimusBlack
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            It Worth to sell both Kane & Son to get KDB for -8 pts

            1. Sturridge Wars
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              No

            2. WE GO FOR IT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              No

            3. OptimusBlack
              • 7 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Thx.

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

            -8 worth it to get Ziyech + Antonio in for 10 dgwsers?

            Son + Brewster out

            Could even BB my with Dallas/Bamford/Holding?

            1. WE GO FOR IT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              -8 is too much.

          7. JPowell612
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Can afford Kane / Son out for Mane / Vardy -- worth a -4?

          8. lekalatch
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Thoughts on punting on Ziyech on a FH?

          9. lekalatch
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Picking to City defenders for the DGW. Which two from Cancelo Stones Dias?

            1. lekalatch
              • 1 Year
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Two*

            2. JPowell612
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              3 months, 3 days ago

              I feel Cancelo/Stones/Dias all nailed for this week. Save the $$ for somewhere else if you need it and go Cacelo/Stones.

          10. gmando2011
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Please pick my best option guys (i have BB available if needed) - currently have 8 DGW players.

            FREE
            INGS > ANTONIO

            -4
            INGS > ANTONIO
            TAYLOR > CRESSWELL

            -8 (BB)
            INGS > ANTONIO
            TAYLOR > CRESSWELL
            LOOKMAN > FODEN

            -12 (BB)
            INGS > ANTONIO
            TAYLOR > CRESSWELL
            LOOKMAN > FODEN
            KANE > VARDY

            -16 (BB)
            INGS > ANTONIO
            TAYLOR > CRESSWELL
            LOOKMAN > FODEN
            KANE > VARDY
            RYAN > FABIANSKI

            1. Sturridge Wars
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Can’t really see the point in using bench boost if your taking a -12 or -16

              1. Sturridge Wars
                • 6 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                -4 looks alright.

            2. Tambling5
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 3 days ago

              All the transfers for the -12 look sensible. The subsequent Fabianski one is dodgier as not clear he will definitely be fit. Lookman to Foden is not necessarily good for this gameweek, with Lookman also having two home fixtures, and Foden May well play only one. However Foden also a better long-term option.

              1. JPowell612
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                3 months, 3 days ago

                concur

              2. gmando2011
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                i think your right - its a big hit

                cheers for the feedback 🙂

              3. gmando2011
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Changing it up a bit with your view on Foden - would a better -12 strategy be

                INGS > ANTONIO
                TAYLOR > CRESSWELL
                KANE > VARDY
                RYAN > EDERSON

                or still not worth it for a BB?

                1. Tambling5
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  I'm doing a -12 myself, and feel it was a bit OTT now, so reluctant to agree. However Ryan to Ederson is a likely 2 points increasing to 12 (-4), so it must be a good bet! Good Luck!

          11. aidmata
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Kane, Rafinha and Robertson -> Watkins, KDB and Cancelo worth a -4?

            Got no City cover and not really any other way of bringing KDB in - aware of the risk with Watkins due to Covid but have plenty cover on my bench.

            Help appreciated guys - been going round in circles.

            Thanks

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

              Can you afford Antonio instead of Watkins?

              I've been trying to get rid of Antonio for weeks, his only return in about 10 weeks has been a lucky hat-trick of assists.

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

            Talk sense to me

            A) Bench: McCarthy Holding Adams Anguissa
            B) BB same lot
            C) BB, additional -4 for Adams -> Watkins

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

              No bb. My plans also ruined and just need to save bb unfortunately.