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.

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

1,918 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Lucky Z
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Does Laca + Son + Reguilon => Antonio + Salah + Coufal worth -8?

    Martinez
    Dias | Targett | Coufal*
    KDB | Sterling | Bruno | Salah* | Grealish
    Antonio* | Bamford

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

      yes prob give you a +8 return

  2. Totti
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Who do u rather guys?

    A) chillwel and gundogan
    B) stones and foden

    1. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      B easy

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

      B for me

  3. Daniel Jebbison
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Thoughts on this 16 pt hit and BB?

    I just want to get the BB get out of the way

    Forster Mitchel out
    Areola and Coufal in

    Son out Salah in

    Kane and McGoldrick out
    Antonio and Watkins in

    0.1m itb

    It could work no ?
    Thanks

    1. Daniel Jebbison
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Areola and Coufal will outscore for sure Mitchell and Forster

      Salah will probably outscore Son

      Kane and McGoldrick against Antonio and Watkins is 50 50 so I kind of like my chances

      1. Daniel Jebbison
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Anyone?

    2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      You’ve superb record mate, so far be from me to tell you how to suck eggs...

      But do you really want to take a 16 point hit?

      I’ll go out on a limb & say it’s madness, but not that it can’t work

    3. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Minus 16 is an enormous hit, I wouldn't have the stones.

      1. InvertedWinger
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        I think he’s great value at 5

        1. Daniel Jebbison
          • 11 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Thanks lads

  4. Shark Team
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    "Charlie Taylor is a doubt for tomorrow, but the squad is coming back together now and everyone else is fine."
    Dyche on Taylor 3 mins ago...
    Do you BB with him in or get another hit to go -12 instead of -8?
    Or maybe dont take any hits, bench Taylor and avoid BB?

    1. Stormbringer22
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Avoid BB

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

      I'm leaning towards avoiding BB. Even if I -8 & keep Raphina, Taylor still there to be dealt with.

      In principle I'd like to BB but maybe not worth the hits now, then afterwards to remove them (no doubt).

    3. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Yeah avoid the BB

  5. CRO KLOPP
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    0 FT 0.4 itb not using chip

    Fabianski
    Stones Dias Castagne Dallas
    Salah KDB Son Bruno Soucek
    Bamford
    (Martinez Adams Mitchell 4.3)

    A) Adams to Antonio/Watkins (-4) and bench Dallas
    B) Dallas to Coufal (-4)
    C) stick

    1. upforgrabs
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      A) Antonio for me

    2. Big Hippo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      A for me. Antonio is the one I would want...

  6. upforgrabs
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Who scores most in 19?
    A: Robertson + Dallas
    B: Robertson + Stones -4
    C: Cancelo + Dias -8

    1. La Roja
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      B

    2. Big Hippo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      A or B. Stones hit should pay off, especially with the 3 fixtures after the double

  7. Original Pirate Material
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    I think im going to gamble on Watkins now rather than Antonio to replace Adams.

    Means I can double up on WH defence which I think is more trustworthy.

    1. Daniel Jebbison
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I am debating getting them both

  8. Big Hippo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Ok help needed for DGW19 please (will answer some questions too while I'm here).

    A) Stones + Kane
    B) Cancelo + Vardy (-4)

    Leaning towards B but not sure! Thanks

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

      Close but B probably

    2. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I think B, just.

  9. b91jh
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Is it too mad to captain Creswell or Soucek?

    Asking from a non-double-gameweek-triple-shane-duffy-captainer.

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

      I think creswell is a def shout! Just needs the minerals!

    2. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I would advise against.

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

    McCarthy ➡️ Fabianski or Martinez?

    I fancy flappy but the crowd seem to be heading to Martinez. Is it because of his future DGWs or are people worried about Fab’s injury?? Great double this week...

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

      Martinez better long term imo

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

        Do you think? Fab always gets save pts and has a great run of fixtures up to about 24??

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

          Villa have also good fixtures, Coufal or Dawson cover whm defence for less money imo.

    2. InvertedWinger
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Martinez because I think they’re a slightly better defense overall and more impending DGWs

  11. Netters2018
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    What to do with this lot? Got 1ft...

    Ddg
    Stones, Coufal, Dallas
    KDB, Salah, Bruno, Gundogan, Son
    Bamford, Martial

    Bench : Holding, Mitchell, Brewster...

    Any advice would be good.

  12. Tabbara
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Thoughts on :
    Balbuena, Adams and Son to Lowton, Rashford and Antonio (-8)
    thx

  13. JabariParkersEyelid
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Is this good to go?

    Mendy
    Coufal Robbo Dias
    Son Bruno Salah (c) Grealish Soucek
    Vardy Bamford

    4.0 Dallas Mitchell Brewster

    1. Big Hippo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Good team

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

      Yup, no KdB a risk but you know that

  14. La Roja
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Bottom of previous page

    What to do here chaps?

    Martinez*
    Zouma* Pieters* Stones* Coufal*
    Foden* Salah* Bruno* Son
    Kane Bamford

    Forster Dallas DCL Romeu

    2.2m ITB and no FT

    A) DCL ➡ Firmino/Jesus -4
    B) Martinez ➡ Flappyhandski -4
    C) DCL ➡ Antonio -4
    D) Romeu ➡ Soucek -4 (bench Bamford)

    1. Alex1995
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      C for me and play Bamford

    2. The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Whats wrong with Martinez?
      C.

    3. BERGKOP
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      C

  15. Alex1995
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Salah & DCL > KDB & Antonio worth a -4 this week?

    Also tempted to triple captain KDB - anyone else on this?

    1. Daniel Jebbison
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Brave

      1. Alex1995
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Which part? Lol

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

      No I would just do the latter

      1. Alex1995
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Just Antonio for DCL?

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

          that's it bud

  16. The 12th Man
    • 7 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    -24 anyone?

    1. Stormbringer22
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Lol, wut? 😀

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Ive done it earlier in the season.

        1. Stormbringer22
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 3 days ago

          What transfers have you made?

          1. The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            4 months, 3 days ago

            none so far his week. Feeling a -4 to a -12 this week.
            Something involving getting 2 City players in probably.

    2. Daniel Jebbison
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I am on -16 after -12 success last week

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Wow. Nice.
        Hope it works out.

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

    Kane to vardy for free or roll the transfer? Don’t own son and no value on Kane

    1. Stormbringer22
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Roll FT

    2. DandyDon
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      If no value I would as Kane has Pool week after as well. can't see him matching vardy over two games. Vardy has better fixtures after if it works out.

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

    Which is better?

    A: Son and Antonio

    B: Kane and Soucek

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

      Coin flip really, over a period of time B because Antonio will get injured at some point

  19. Nespinha
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Would you BB this team?

    Johnstone
    Stones Robbo Balbuena
    Salah KDB Bruno Grealish Raphinha
    Watkins, Bamford

    Mccarthy, Dallas, KWP, Adams

    1. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Nah, Balbuena in your first eleven might not even play.

  20. Westfield Irons ⭐️
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Nice succint and thought provoking article Simon.
    Any thoughts that delaying gratification (or using chips) could impact on your subsequent focus or drive, compared to those who play their chips earlier.
    As a layman, I feel that getting the gratification of playing chips at the earliest 'optimum' opportunity and seeing a boost to your rank, should motivate you to continue to perform and focus.
    I have a sense that delaying the gratification/chips, might mean you could accept 'treading water' until the chips and rank boost come in the future... Or you might lose motivation and/or subconsciously make worse decisions to gain ground on those that have played their chips (and probably climbed rank) prior to your 'big chance' when you play chips at a later date...

    1. DandyDon
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I agree but at the end of the day the game is just best evaluations each week and we need to assess wether a hit is worth it or not. I hadn't even taken a -8 until this season (only went up 2k that week) and am actually considering a -12 this week which sounds rediculous but if you see my team it makes some sense, obviously I won't have as good a rank rise as many others but I wouldn't if I left it with double leeds defence and Adams up front also! Also it helps set up my team with more city players for following weeks. Hopefully if everything goes to plan I then will assess next week and not even require a transfer I don't think.

      1. Westfield Irons ⭐️
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        What's your team Dandydon?

        I got caught out by the LEE V SOU postponement, but pressing ahead with this for a -8 and bench boost.

        Johnstone
        Cresswell Coufal Justin Pieters
        KDB Bruno Salah Soucek
        Vardy Watkins
        McCarthy Bamford Raphina Dallas

        City DEF can wait for me. My punt is Watkins to take a clean sheet away!

        1. DandyDon
          • 2 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Hi. Decent Bench Boost but does put a lot of chance on leeds if keeping 3. I have a fobia of Watkins after owning twice and only a missed pen to show this season. Very unlucky I know!
          This is what I posted last night. Happy with two of my changes but issue is Grealish to Foden needs to happen for me to afford them. Hoping for Villa news on Grealish. Still think Foden will play majority of minutes in these two.

          -12 for next gameweek? Alternative Adams to Antonio for -4.

          Grealish - Foden
          Adams - Antonio
          Ayling - Stones -12

          Would give me?

          Meslier
          Justin Stones Cresswell
          Bruno KDB Foden Salah
          Vardy Bamford Antonio

          - KWP, Bissouma, Mitchell 0.7itb

          Adams and Double Leeds defence paid off a few times for me over past weeks but just know I’ll drop if I stick with it this week and in particular no city or pool defence.

          1. Westfield Irons ⭐️
            • 11 Years
            4 months, 3 days ago

            I would caution against removing a talisman like Grealish who has a DGW, for Foden. Foden is great, but rotation worries me.
            I support West Ham and would love Antonio to deliver over the double, but he is a risk in terms of minutes and fitness.
            Someone on Whogottheassist put it well, he is likely to play 90 minutes over the double, start for 60, then sub on for 30, that seems plausible, but he could score a couple in that time, I appreciate that.
            I think Ayling to Stones is bang on.
            Are you 0.1m short of doing Bissouma to Soucek (and benching Adams)? I'd consider looking for a low priced mid with a double to replace Bissouma and trying to keep the hit to -8.

  21. tafrère
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Hits everywhere...

    I'm considering myself a -8 but...

    Have we forget that single gameweekers can easily outscore double gameweekers ?

    Have we forget about Duffy (C) ?

    Have we (already) forget about thinking 3 Arsenal players in a BGW was a definite jump in the rankings ?

    Lmao, I guess it's just too fun too ignore, too much of a temptation.

    Go for the reward, go for the hits, I may be a coward.

    1. DandyDon
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Yea if I remove my leeds and southampton players and they keep a cleansheet without Phillips first game and Adams scores against a decent leicester defence it will be frustrating . However I fancy Stones and Antonio to at least get one goal involvement and one Clean sheet from two games in comparison. Thus why not.

    2. Kabayan
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Go big or go home

  22. davies
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Raphinha > Soucek (-4)

    Yes or no?

  23. LIARS POKER
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Taylor a doubt for tomorrow, anyone other 4.5 dgw defenders worth a -4 if I'm planning to BB? (already maxed out on West Ham)

  24. GS456
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Son & Kane > KDB & Vardy -4?

    1. GreennRed
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      No.

    2. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I have a similar dilemma. I think KDB must come in. Not 100% sure on the Kane to Vardy (-4)

    3. OptimusBlack
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Not Sure but don't lose both

    4. Westfield Irons ⭐️
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Planned these Spurs out moves for DGW19 on GW16 wildcard and intend to see it through.
      Still seems a decent move.
      (Now also doing Adam > Watkins for total -8)

      1. GS456
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Thanks for the help lads.

  25. Original - Wolves Ay We
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Could taking lots of hits early and improving team value to use in the second part of the season, also be considered delayed gratification? You see yourself falling behind your rivals, but turn it round when using the WC and BB later in the season by being able to afford better players?

  26. Tonyawesome69
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Which option is best? Balbuena and Son are definitely getting transferred out.

    A. Balbuena, Son and Kane to Cresswell, Salah and Vardy (-8)
    B. Balbuena and Son to Dawson and Salah (-4)

  27. You've got red on you.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    -8 to do:

    Holgate, Tierney and Wilson ---> Cresswell, R.James and Antonio

    Yay or Nay?

  28. BobB
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    11 of my 15 -= DGWs. The singles - Son, Dallas and Bamford and Saka - have good fixtures. Won't get a better week to BB

    1. royals forever
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      That's true go for it

    2. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Yup I would BB

    3. DandyDon
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Yes I think so. unfortunately I am stuck with a non playing GK and was expecting to be able to use a transfer to remove him this week. Need to reduce my leeds defence and southampton assets now a priority so TC instead.

  29. royals forever
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Bearing in mind DGW19 what is the best 16m MF combo for this front 8

    Bruno Salah Soucek xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

    Watkins Firmino Wilson

    Any ideas would be welcomed

  30. OptimusBlack
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Any news on McCarthy is he fit to play or Forster ?