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. mattk lfc
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Justin to City defender for -4 worth it?
    Would probably do it next week with my FT if not now

    1. Stormbringer22
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      If you have no City defence, then yes, it is worth it

      1. mattk lfc
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 28 days ago

        Thanks, no I don't - current starters are Justin, Chilwell and Cresswell. Can't really see Southampton or Chelsea not scoring at Leicester

    2. Snooze ya lose
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Yep

    3. DandyDon
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Justin good option this week. I'm keeping, no one else you can move on?

  2. Stormbringer22
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 28 days ago

    What scores more this GW?

    A. Stones + Bamford
    B. Cancelo + Antonio -4 (Bamford benched)

    1. Feed tha Sheep
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 28 days ago

      Really tough..if we knew Antonio would start two games I would go B but I don’t think they can throw him into two games in quick succession after long term injury

      1. Stormbringer22
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 28 days ago

        Cheers mate

    2. Goonerly
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      A

      1. Stormbringer22
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Nice one, thanks

    3. EmreCan Hustle
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      B, assuming they start both matches.

      1. Stormbringer22
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Cheers

    4. KAPTAIN KANE
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      A just

      1. Stormbringer22
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Thanks, KK!

  3. phuang
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Martinez
    Zouma, Justin, Stones
    KDB, Fernandes, Salah, Son, Raphinha
    Decordova-Reid, Bamford

    Sub: McCarthy, KWP, Dallas, Adams

    Took a -4 hit to bring in Decordova-Reid and KDB.

    1) Should I take another -4 hit to bring in Soucek for Raphinha?
    2) Does my team looks viable to play Bench Boost or is it better to play TC on KDB?

    Thank you.

    1. Stormbringer22
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      1. no
      2. no and also wouldn't play the TC

  4. Feed tha Sheep
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Which one this week?

    A. Son Anguissa Dallas > Foden Grealish & Stones -8
    B. Robertson Son & Adams > Stones Foden & Vardy -8
    C. Robertson & Son > Stones & KDB -4

    1. Stormbringer22
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 28 days ago

      C

    2. Chip Butty
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      C but could wait to next week

      1. Feed tha Sheep
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        City have the DGW this week so makes sense to do it this no?

  5. Chip Butty
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    TAA/Son >> Cancelo/KDB
    A) -8 this week
    B) -4 next?

  6. Goonerly
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Bottomed a while back, sorry.

    Team is:

    Pope
    Targett - Dier - Robbo - Tierney*
    Salah - Bruno - Son*
    Bamford - Adams* - Watkins

    Which of these options sounds best? :

    A) Tierney + Son --> Stones/Ogbonna + KdB (-4)
    B Tierney + Son + Adams --> Stones/Ogbonna + KdB + Antonio
    C) Wildcard and get in more City/Chelsea/Leicester/West Ham etc.

    Thanks in advance!

  7. Champ
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 28 days ago

    Chances of KDB being rested for one of the DGW games

    Or say less than 130 mins...?

    I'm thinking 28%

    Table is tight and they need points obvs

    Villa won't be easy...but it does feel like he is due/needs a rest

    On the other hand, if he is rested for the cup tomorrow week, then he has 6 days rest before the baggies

    1. BeWater
        3 months, 27 days ago

        I've watched a lot of him this. Owned him and captained him a few times. Don't think there has been another player that has blown as many points. He's looking tired and doesn't have the same zip in his play.

        1. NETFLIX & CHILWELL
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 27 days ago

          I feel the same about him.

          Keeping him in my team but going to (C) Salah.

          KDB is running on fumes at the moment and I wouldn't be surprised if Pep gives him some time out soon.

      • unclesbasement
          3 months, 27 days ago

          so not worth triple captain

      • Better luck next year
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 28 days ago

        GTG for GW 19?

        Martinez
        Dias Stones Reguilon
        Salah KDB (C) Bruno Soucek
        Antonio Wilson Bamford

        4.0 Saiss Mitchell 4.5

        Triple cap KDB?

        1. j16
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 27 days ago

          The thought has crossed my mind

      • unclesbasement
          3 months, 28 days ago

          Thoughts on triple captain this dgw. Who would you go for out of these options:
          A)KDB
          B)Salah
          C)Vardy
          D)Bruno

          1. Bobby_Baggio
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            B

          2. umerlfc
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            A for me

          3. BeWater
              3 months, 27 days ago

              A

            • Dannyb
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              D

            • j16
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              A for me

          4. Puntillimon
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            Hi guys appreciate any advice here. Correct lineup?

            Pope
            Chilwell cresswell coufal stones cancelo
            Grealish kdb (c) salah Fernandes
            Watkins

            McCarthy soucek bamford Welbeck

            On -4.

            Thank you!

          5. boogle
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            Not been paying attention to price changes so am 0.1 short of Podence + Bamford > Foden + Antonio - 4

            What would you do here, is just Podence > Gundogan for free OK or would you take a hit to get another DGW?

            Leno
            Robbo* Dias* James*
            Salah* Bruno* Son Gundogan* Soucek*
            Kane Bamford

            Dallas Taylor* Brewster

            1. Phlajo
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              I'd rather Podence > Gundogan

              Foden + Antonio is a very punty move, but if you feel like it Bamford might rise 0.1 tonight, so maybe it's possible to do it tomorrow?

          6. Bobby_Baggio
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 28 days ago

            Which option please people? Have no city which worries me. 0.3m ITB.

            Johnstone - McCarthy
            Justin - Robbo - Coufal - Balbuena - Alioski
            Salah - Son - Bruno - Soucek - Raphinha
            Kane - Adams - Bamford

            A) Robbo + Balbuena + Raphinha > Dias + Stones + Foden -8
            B) Robbo + Raphinha > Dias + Foden -4
            C) Save
            D) Anything else

            1. Il Capitano
                3 months, 27 days ago

                D) Robbo + Balbuena to double City def?

            2. b91jh
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              Initial bench:
              Button/Raphinha/KWP/DCL

              New bench to BB: (-8)
              Johnstone/Raphinha/Cancelo or Maguire/Antonio

              Go or No?

              1. b91jh
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 28 days ago

                Not gonna BB with the current bench of course

            3. Alisson WondHaaland
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              Kane Grealish Taylor to Antonio KDB Stones -8

              Or I can delay the Grealish to KDB transfer until GW 20, in which case -4

              yay or nay?

            4. FPL Kaka
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              I am planning on bringing in two of the following, which one should I ignore?

              a) Antonio

              b) Wilson

              c) Watkins

              At first Wilson seems the obvious one to ignore but we don't know if Watkins has / had COVID and unsure on Antonio fitness?

              1. Alisson WondHaaland
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                B and C are both keep if you have, avoid if you dont. a) is worth the risk but I wouldnt bring 2 in tbh

              2. Snooze ya lose
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                Only striker now tho

            5. Westfield Irons ⭐️
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              Guess total Bench Boost score from these SGW players please?
              McCarthy v lei
              Bamford v BRI
              Raphina v BRI
              Dallas v BRI
              thanks

              1. The 12th Man
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                Anywhere between 10 and 25

              2. umerlfc
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                16

              3. Bobby_Baggio
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                11

              4. Black Knights
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                2
                9
                2
                2

              5. BERGKOP
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                16

                1. SchluppsIDidItAgain
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  3 months, 27 days ago

                  12

              6. EmreCan Hustle
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                3
                6
                2
                2

              7. Honker Muddlefoot
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                McCarthy 2-3
                Bamford 6-8
                Raphinha 2-5
                Dallas 5-8

                Worst-case: 12-15
                Best-case: 24

                I have the same bench, so that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway! Really think at least one of the Leeds lads gets a return, possibly more, and with save points and Southampton not usually shipping in goals, McCarthy should be able to get you 2-3 points.

            6. Tabbara
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

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

            7. mowgli26
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 28 days ago

              I've previously used my WC, so thinking of taking the advantage of using my TC this week as those now using their WC cant use the TC at the same time.

              Anybody else thinking the same?

            8. kime67
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              coufal or antonio?

              1. Champ
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                coufal - more alternatives up top than at the back i feel plus questions on Antonios fitness etc

            9. MessiGOAT
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              Which combo
              Kane and Son to
              A. Vardy and Maddy/Foden/Pogba....
              B. Cavani and Salah
              ???

              1. Cojones of Destiny
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                frankly neither

            10. Rossaldinho
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              A - Coufal and Foden?
              or
              B - Cancelo and Soucek?

              Comments:
              Coufal nailed. West Ham good prospects of clean sheets with Fabianski back, but not as strong as Man City. Foden better upside but more risk in terms of minutes.

              Cancelo may not play both games as both Walker and Zinchenko available (ignoring Mendy). Cancelo upside good but perhaps not as strong as Foden. Soucek decent punt but not as good an upside as Foden. Cancelo provides defensive double-up which looks good on paper but more risky perhaps.

              Opinions please.

              1. Westfield Irons ⭐️
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                B

              2. balint84
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                B is less risky

            11. Muscout
              • 1 Year
              3 months, 27 days ago

              JWP to H.Barnes/Mount/Foden/Gundogan/El Ghazi

              And Bamford to Antonio/Watkins

              -4

              Do it? If so which ones

            12. TopCopy
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              Son > Rashford for -4

              Would make this transfer next week if not for this GW.

              1. DV8R
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                Yeah

              2. balint84
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                Next week

            13. Scots Gooner
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              Who scores more?

              A : Grealish / Son / Watkins
              or
              B : El-Ghazi / Smith Rowe / Vardy

              1. DV8R
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                A

              2. balint84
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                A

            14. Iceball
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              If RMT give you 21-4 for the bench, would you BB? Have already used FH so I think later BB could be struggle.
              YES?
              NO?

            15. wagner is king
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              would you do
              son to Rushford-4 ?

              son has good fixture but Rushford has 2 games even tho 1 Liverpool away.
              also son has man city in gw 20

              1. balint84
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                Son vs Sheffield

            16. umerlfc
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              A or B?

              A) Son + Raphinha + 4 points
              B) Antonio + Foden

              1. DV8R
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 27 days ago

                A

            17. wulfrunian
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              Is Taylor out?

            18. balint84
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              A) Adams to Antonio (free)
              B) Zouma to Stones (free)
              C) do both -4
              A bit afraid of losing Chelsea defense

            19. DV8R
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 27 days ago

              Madness to do the following for a -8?

              Balbuena, Raphinha, Kane -> Stones, KDB, Davis (fodder)