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. 03farmboy
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Would you take -4 to transfer out balbuena? Or play Kwp or Alioski on the bench?

    1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      If it is for a DGW player then yes as Balbuena has lost his position and just finished self isolation. I'm doing Balbuena to Dawson for a hit

      1. 03farmboy
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I can offer stones would you prefer to go for him? Also I’ve already took a -4 getting in De Bruyne so it would be a -8 altogether

        1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Depends on your team. Do you need/ want to transfer Balbuena out for a DGW player like Stones?

          1. 03farmboy
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 26 days ago

            My team without doing so would be

            McCarthy
            Chilwell, Justin, Kwp
            Salah, Bruno, De Bruyne, Soucek, Saka
            Kane, bamford
            Bench: meslier, Alioski, balbuena, Brewster

    2. teneighty
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      What Tony said.

  2. Pep Roulette
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Werner is going to haul this gameweek! I can feel it!

    1. JBG
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Did you transfer him in for a hit? Is that why you feel it?

      1. Pep Roulette
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Not yet, but I'm planning to!

    2. teneighty
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      His owner will be thrilled!

  3. McPollolocco
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Should i triple captain Salah??

      1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I don't think GW19 is the right GW for TC chip imo.

      2. kusasi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Same problem, can't decide ... feel like I should say no but if I don't then everyone else will and he'll haul ...

      3. Rupert The Horse
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        No

    • Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I think I'm ready to push the button on the transfers (-4) and BB chip.

      Thoughts on this? Thanks

      Martinez
      Stones Cancelo Coufal Dawson
      KDB Bruno Soucek Salah(C)
      Bamford* Kane*
      (Johnstone Raphinha* Rodrigo* Holding*)

      1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Anyone?

      2. Westfield Irons ⭐️
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yes looks decent, but I'd be tempted by Kane > Vardy for another hit

        1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          haha been toying with that idea for a while. Doing Kane to Vardy allows me to upgrade Dawson to Cresswell.

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

          1. Westfield Irons ⭐️
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            A - also because a slim chance Dawson starts to rotate with Balbuena. Cresswell could haul. Do it!

            1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Cheers, it is the more aggressive move. What's your thoughts on Vardy and LEI two games?

    • htfcbrad
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      What's the best plan for those that still have all of their chips?

      1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        BB19, WC25, FH29 and TC a small DGW

        1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          that's the plan in my head anyway

      2. *Reformed-Character*
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        use a chip.....

    • kusasi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Who should I triple captain? Or hold? (all playing twice)

      Johnstone
      Dias / Cancelo / Cresswell
      Salah / Fernandes / Rashford / Barnes / Soucek
      Firmino / Antonio

      1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Hold the chip

    • Please Answer Me
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Who are the most nailed out of Stones, Cancelo and Dias?

      1. Pep Roulette
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dias
        Stones
        Cancelo

      2. The Yorkshire Pirlo
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Wow. Great minds, see below hahaha

      3. Silent Hunter
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dias

      4. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dias>Cancelo>Stones

      5. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dias, Cancelo, Stones

    • The Yorkshire Pirlo
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Which City def to bring in?

      A) Cancelo
      B) Dias
      C) Stones

      Think I’d prefer Cancelo but is he due a rest? 🙁

      1. Please Answer Me
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Great minds mate, see above

      2. wulfrunian
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        b

      3. Seamy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I have the same options but leaning Stones as the 0.8m does wonders with my team going forward.
        I may swap Chilwell for Cancelo in time too

      4. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dias the safe option, Cancelo the more exciting and higher ceiling

      5. Cojones of Destiny
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        B

    • Sz21
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Any of these moves worth it for a -4?
      1. Dallas-> Cancelo (Benching headache- (Bamford) but looks worth it.
      2. McCarthy -> Mendy. Gives Chelsea defence but not the City def double up.
      3. Mane -> KDB. Don't fancy this as much. The break should do great for Liv.

      McCarthy.
      Robbo, Stones, Coufal.
      Salah (TC), Son, Mane, Fernandes, Soucek.
      Antonio, Bamford.
      Forster, Dallas, Brewster, Ferguson.
      0ft, 1.3m ITB.

      1. Iceball
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I like 1 most out of those.
        Was also wondering Mane to KDB but KDB looked tired so Im worried Mane who is fresh might do the damage so I keep him. I have Steer so am taking hit to bring in most likely Mendy for the BB. But in your shoes dont think its worth a hit since you have a playing gk.

    • b91jh
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Initial bench:
      Button/Raphinha/KWP/DCL

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

      Go or no?

    • RogerC
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Would you BB if you have a bench of Bamford, Saiss and Dier + 11 dgw players?

      1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Borderline. Since you have a playing bench GK with two games then I would prob BB

    • swobe
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      OUT: DCL + Raphi + C.Taylor

      IN: a) Antonio + Soucek + Cancelo
      b) Antonio + Foden + Coufal

      1. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A.
        Soucek plays all games and City almost guaranteed of cleanies

        1. kusasi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          A

    • Iceball
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Do you think its likely some DGW between 20-22? Will probably WC in GW 23, or 24.
      Would like a gk who has possible DGW very soon but probably it wont be?
      So for short term and this weeks BB
      A) Mendy
      B) Martinez (who might have covid?)
      C) Fulham or WBA feels very mehh, but money not issue for that short term.
      Was thinking Fabianski when I saw I already have 3xWHM when I bring Antonio in.

      1. Ponduskongen
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Both Mendy and Martinez are soild picks, Mendy has the best fixtures forward.
        Would avoid Fulham and West Brom, if possible.

    • Dont_Win_Friends_With_Salah…
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I'm playing BB simply because I have no ideadea who to play and who to bench. Sensible?

      Martinez
      Dias Robbo AWB
      Bruno Son Grealish Foden
      Antonio Kane

      Mccarthy Son Holding Bamford

    • Ponduskongen
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Think i will do a -4 for the following transfers:

      Son -> KDB
      DCL -> Antonio

      0,0 left in the bank afterwards, so it feels like it meant to be.

      1. Iceball
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Sure, go fo it 4 games instead of 2 games. What do you think of my goalkeeper dilemma above?

        1. Iceball
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          actually 1 game since DCL not just injured but also has a blank anyway 🙂

    • Seamy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I enjoyed that article

      1. ted mcnure
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I´ll read it later...

      2. Ain't No Holebas Girl
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I feel like eating marshmallows now

    • Alisson WondHaaland
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Would you bench boost this?

      Johnstone
      Robbo Chilwell Coufal Stones
      Bruno Salah KDB Bowen
      Antonio Watkins

      Mccarthy Bamford Alioski Bissouma

      Would need a -8 to get there

      1. Seamy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Depends on who is involved in the -8.
        If they are good long term picks yes. If not no

        1. Alisson WondHaaland
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          KDB, Antonio, Stones are the 3 coming in

      2. Iceball
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        No, wouldnt take that many hit for just SGW players.

      3. Cojones of Destiny
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        no

      4. claretparrot
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        No way for a -8

    • Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      which combo score more:?
      a. Dawson, Coufal, Kane
      b. Robbo, Creswell, Antonio

      1. Cojones of Destiny
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        also a) Stones, b) Cancelo

    • Nespinha
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Going Son to KDB and...

      A) Adams --- Antonio (-4)
      B) Adams + Taylor --- Antonio + Coufal (-8)
      C) Taylor --- Stones (-4)
      D) Adams + Taylor --- Brewster + Cancelo (-8)

      1. Kuzser
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A or C

    • ViperStripes
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      a) Play Watkins (bench Bamford)
      b) Play Bamford (bench Watkins)
      c) or use a transfer on Watkins to e.g. Antonio, Martial, Cavani, Jesus (max 9.1 so Vardy isn't an option)

      1. Westfield Irons ⭐️
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        d) find a way to play both

    • Feed tha Sheep
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      How many mins do we expect Maddison to play over DGW?

    • Kuzser
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Which combo you would prefer as a part of BB?

      1) Antonio - Sterling - Lookman - Dier for -4
      2) Antonio - Sterling - Saka - Shaw/4.8def for -4
      3) Brewster- Salah - Souchek -Dier for -8
      4) Brewster - Salah - ASR/Rice - Cancelo/Chilwell for -8

      Current Team is:
      Johnstone - Martinez
      Dallas*- Stones - Coufal - Justin - Dier
      Son - KdB - Bruno - Stelring -Saka
      Laca - Bamford - Brewster

      1. Kuzser
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        option 3 with -4 too

    • umerlfc
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Which optiona brings more points this week?

      A) KDB + Vardy + 4 points
      B) Martinez + Dallas + Maddison + Wood + Bamford

    • Van der Faart
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Heung Min Son scores this year when hes had net transfers out;

      GW2: 24
      GW4: 18
      GW9: 10
      GW11: 13
      GW13: 9
      GW15: 3
      GW17: 13

      Punishing sellers all the time.

      1. Seamy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Nice stat

      2. drughi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        sheffield is terrible so a haul is very possible

        1. Guru Mediation
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Attacking wise yes, defending wise they're not. People are forgetting that Son (and spurs) have been in bad form for a few weeks now. The Leeds haul was an anomaly based on their determination to give the ball away in their own half.
          I'd be more worried selling Kane, but will be selling both anyway.....pride before the fall 🙂

      3. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        What about his points when he plays against a team with a low block 5ATB?

      4. Super Saints
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I sold him for Bruno GW2, ouch! Never selling again

    • ViperStripes
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Which Single GW player are people most likely to regret transferring out or benching for a DGW.....?

      My money is on Bamford

      1. Seamy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I'm fully braced to be punished by the Spurs attackers

      2. ThisTimeNxtYrRodney
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Bamford or son for me.

      3. Van der Faart
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Son, see above. Although I'm not selling.

      4. Silent Hunter
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dilemma to play Bamford or Wilson 🙁

    • Old Gregg
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      What move please?

      a) Wilson > Antonio
      b) son + (Burke) > Pulisic/Ziyech + Soucek (-4)
      c) son + Wilson > Soucek + Vardy/Werner (-4)

    • Tsparkes10
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      BB? Johnstone, Lowton, Raph, Dallas?

      1. umerlfc
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Borderline
        Might just

    • Silent Hunter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Martinez
      Robertson, Cancelo, Dias, Coufal
      Salah, KDB, Bruno, Son, Saucek
      Wilson

      Sub: Steer, Bamford, Mitchell, Brewster

      1) Play Wilson or Bamford?
      2) TC Salah or KDB?

      1. umerlfc
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Wilson and KDB

    • Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      RMT (with bench boost)
      McCarthy
      Stones Cancelo Dias
      Salah Soucek Bruno Grealish
      Antonio Kane Bamford

      Steer Son Konsa Dallas

      I think I am going to have too much winning that I will be bored with winning.

    • Champ
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Any news on Fabianski guys?