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. Mo Mo
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Which is better ?
      A- Kane & Adams > Vardy & Antonio -4
      B- Kane , Adams , Dallas , Bissouma > Vardy ,Antonio Gundogan & Lowton -12

    • ragsyboys
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Will Cresswell and Antonio play both games?

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

        Probably

    • OptimusBlack
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

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

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

        Last I heard he was available: https://twitter.com/FFScout/status/1349726944816816136

    • Will J 256
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Hi guys, thoughts on -8?

      Kane, Son and Tierney to Antonio, Salah and Chilwell?

      Playing the BB so would set me up nicely!

      1. BeWater
          3 months, 3 days ago

          Like it.

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

          No

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

        I have not put a lot of thought into this but I'll throw it out here to see the reactions: TC on Soucek, madness or genious?

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

          Risky, and would cap at 15 points (more than 1 goal a game unrealistic)

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

            Well, in the last 4 games where he scored a goal his points has been 8, 9, 10 and 11.

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

          He's my VC if that helps

        3. gogs67
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Not the first to mention that today

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

              Awesome reply!

          • Sanchit
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Madness

          • Marcin the Pole
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Madness

          • teneighty
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 3 days ago

            Cheers for the input guys. 🙂

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

          TC KdB this week?

          1. unclesbasement
              3 months, 3 days ago

              its between him or salah

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

            is -4 for this BB worth it;

            Grealish (mci NEW), James (ful lei) Bamford (BHA) Keeper is Forster so almost certainly nil

          3. Il Capitano
              3 months, 3 days ago

              Need some City in here.

              1FT 0.3m ITB

              Johnstone
              Robertson Justin Lowton Coufal
              Soucek Bruno Salah Son*
              Vardy Bamford*

              McCarthy* - Raphinha* Dallas* Adams*
              * SGW

              Thinking about:

              A) Dallas > Stones
              B) Robbo + Son > Stones + KDB (-4)
              C) Robbo + Lowton/Dallas > Double City def (-4)

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

                C (lowton) or B

                1. Il Capitano
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    Thanks

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

                  Yes

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

                Holding & DCL to Coufal & Antonio worth a -4?

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

                  I think so

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

                As DCL replacement: what are the best options between?

                Watkins, Wilson, Antonio or lo and behold Timo Werner?

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

                  Antonio

              5. barcaa7
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 3 days ago

                Would you bench boost If u have 4 SGW on your bench (triple Leeds with McCarthy)?

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

                  Starting 11 all DGWers?

                  1. barcaa7
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    yes

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

                  Only if you think Leeds are going to get a mountain of points, or if you've used your 2nd WC

                  If you've still got your 2nd WC, hold it for a BB in 29

                  1. barcaa7
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    Cheers, i still got my 2nd WC but iam not sure what should i do.

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

                  That is exactly what I have and I do not think so.

                  Bamford, Dallas, Rafa & McCarthy.

                  Super tricky though, if Leeds smashes them yes if it's 1-1 then maybe not.

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

                  I have exact 4 x SGW players and will 99% bench boost.
                  What score do you reckon we could get in total?
                  I think 15-20 and expect Leeds to win to nil

                  1. barcaa7
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    i think Leeds will win 2-1 , and McCarthy wont get the CS
                    so it will be about 10-16 points max

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

                      BARCAA7 > OK a bit more pessimistic than me, but 15 ish is the consesus. I think that's acceptable, not great, but probably not far off the norm. I agree with the idea it 'get's BB out of the way' meaning we can start to remove funds from the bench again and focus on the starting 11 for the next WC/DGW opportunity that comes along

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

                Doing Son to Salah with my 1 FT.
                Which of these is worth a hit?
                Can take multiple hits also.
                A. Dier to Cresswell
                B. Dallas to Coufal
                C. Bamford to Antonio

                1. barcaa7
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  all seems good

              7. gogs67
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  In all the years I've played this game I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I've managed to save up a double transfer lol!!

                • Merlinho
                  • 11 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  I’m shaping to bring in Antonio for DCL, and benching Bamford and Dallas.

                  Do I
                  1) stick with that and no chip
                  2) get in Bailly for Ferguson for +4 and bench boost with a non-playing keeper
                  3) Targett and Johnstone in for + 8 and bench boost

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

                    I’m in a similar position and think I’m not going to bb now

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

                  Cavani likely to play both do we reckon?

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

                    120 minutes in both combined I reckon

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

                      This

                • balint84
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

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

                  What do you think?

                  1. barcaa7
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    a

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

                    A

                • PogBruno
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Who should be the (C) here?

                  Martinez
                  Dias Cancelo Coufal
                  KDB Salah Bruno Grealish Soucek
                  Vardy Wood

                • The Colonel
                  • 7 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  1) Son + Kane > Salah + Firminho (-4). Means playing Bamford as a SGW player
                  2) Reid > Antonio. Means benching Bamford.

                • The Red Devil
                  • 6 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  A-Grealish+ Taylor+ Bednarek -> Salah+ Mitchell+ coufal (-8)
                  Yay or nay?
                  B- Kdb TC- yay or nay?

                • Danny De Gea
                  • 6 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  A. Vardy & Foden (FT)

                  B. Antonio & KDB (-4)

                • One of Those Days
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  How is this BB19 team looking?

                  Martínez
                  Dallas | Cancelo | Cresswell | Coufal
                  Salah | Fernandes | KDB(c) | Soucek
                  Firmino | Watkins
                  ----------------------------------------------------------
                  Johnstone | Castagne | Raphinha | Bamford

                  1. matiakez
                    • 10 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    Looks good to me. Firmino a nice differential.

                • Silecro
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Hi all,

                  Good enough to bench boost?

                  Johnstone, Adams, Bednarek, Dallas

                  Also have Bamford and Son but they are in starting 11

                • matiakez
                  • 10 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Bench boost this Martinez KWP Dallas Bamford?

                  Starting XI all have doubles.

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

                    100%

                • b91jh
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Initial bench:
                  Button/Raphinha/KWP/DCL

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

                  Yay or nay?

                • eririi
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Sorry about the repost, but I’m stuck.
                  My plan is this team
                  McCarthy - Johnstone
                  Justin - Stones - TAA - Coufal - T Silva
                  Bruno - Maddison - Salah - Mount - Soucek
                  Bamford - Cavani - Antonio

                  This gives 13 DGW players with BB, but have to take -8 to get there
                  DCL -> Cavani
                  Adams -> Antonio
                  Alioski -> Stones

                  Is it worth it?

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

                    Not a fan of the Cavani move, would get Watkins/Wilson instead and upgrade Stones to Dias for long term nailedness.

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

                  Martinez
                  Dias - James - Robertson - Coufal
                  Soucek - Son - Grealish - Salah - Fernandes
                  Bamford
                  (Peacock-Farrell) (DCL - Dallas - Brewster)

                  1 FT - 2.3 million ITB

                  What should I prioritise?

                  I can do
                  1. Brewster to Antonio
                  2. Try and get in KDB (0.1 away from Son to KDB)
                  2a) James + Son -> KDB + Stones
                  2b) DCL -> Antonio then either do Son to KDB for a -4 or do Son to KDB next week (favouring the latter)
                  3. Try to get in a City defender (James to Cancelo or Stones?)

                  1. Pukki Party
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    Can you afford DCL to Vardy?

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

                      Nope

                • Pukki Party
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 3 days ago

                  Thoughts?

                  Martinez
                  Robbo Cancelo Holding*
                  Salah Bruno Son* Soucek
                  Vardy Bamford* Adams*

                  Ramsdale Ayling Anguissa Taylor
                  0ft 0.1itb
                  * =sgw

                  A) Adams to Watkins -4
                  B) Ayling to Furlong/Lowton -4 and play over Holding/Adams
                  C) no hits

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

                  A) Stephens Raphinha -> Stones Lookman (-4)
                  B) Raphinha Rodrigo -> Lookman Antonio (-4)
                  C) Mane Raphina Rodrigo -> KDB Lookman Antonio (-8)

                  Lookman is questionable but that’s for funding the other moves

                  1. Pukki Party
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 3 days ago

                    B if you don't have another ManCity defender

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

                      I have Cancelo, you mean B if I do have one?

                      1. Pukki Party
                        • 3 Years
                        3 months, 3 days ago

                        Yeah that's what i meant.