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

    Any reason to not triple cap Salah? Other than him not being the best of form?

    1. JVALDEZ
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      No

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

      That's pretty much the only reason why I won't TC Salah.

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

        I feel like whenever triple cap is played at the most “optimal” time it’s always a let down. For me, a double gameweek where he’s going to play both games 100% is just to good to ignore. I think KDB gets benched in 1 of City’a DGW.

        1. unclesbasement
            2 months, 26 days ago

            for who? Im not buying this kdb bench rumours

      2. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Nope, don't think so. I'm doing it most likely.

      3. sledger
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        No. And he was out of form pre season then got a 40 point haul against Leeds.

    3. Toplad
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      GW19 who and why:

      A) Firmino
      B) Antonio

      Thanks in advance

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

      West Ham presser is on now.

      1. Stormbringer22
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Cheers, following Pep's at the moment as well

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

        Please say: Balbuena is now 110% fit and will start next 2 games.

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

        Anything on Fab?

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

      Interesting article..

      So who's playing using a chip this weekend?

      1. Rash
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Planning*

      2. TNB
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Still minded to press BB. Don't think I'll ever have a full playing bench regardless of whether they have a DGW

        • Baps hunter
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Not me.

        • unclesbasement
            2 months, 26 days ago

            TC kdb

        • Pukki Party
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Vardy scoring better away from home. Is this a new thing for this season and will it continue?

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

            Yes, has been better away from home because the home team is aggressive and Vardy is decent on counter
            But he has hauled against Brighton at home so same could happen against Chelsea and Southampton since they are not just going to sit back like other teams travelling to King Power

            1. Pompel
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Can't see him blanking in both of those matches

            2. Pukki Party
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              My thoughts too regarding opponents for the double. Thanks

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

          No City as of yet...

          A) - 4 (own Robbo)
          TAA, Taylor > Cancelo, Dias
          TC Vardy

          B) -8
          TAA, Burke, Kane > City, KDB, fodder
          TC KDB

        • ZAWAd25
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Son + Bamford >>> Rashford + Antonio (-4)?

          Will be bringing Bamford back next week for Watkins

        • gart888
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Best DCL replacement? Can't afford to upgrade him.

          Watkins, Antonio, or Wilson?

          I find Antonio the most intriguing, but I question his fitness right now.

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

            Antonio is the only worth it

          2. Did you see that throw-in?
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Who are West Ham buying to replace Haller? Watkins has just as good stats and isn't made out of twiglets.

            1. gart888
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Watkins also may have Covid though. And has terrible finishing lately.

        • King Kohli
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Anything worth a hit here?

          Martinez
          Cancelo Stones Coufal Konsa
          Salah KDB Bruno Raphinha*
          Vardy Bamford*
          Meslier Adams Anguissa Taylor

          0 FT 1 ITB

          1. Pépé Pig
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Possibly Raphinha to Soucek, or Adams to Antonio (and start over Raph)

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

          Are we likely to get any updates on Villa players before deadline?

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

            Same thought and probably no as their game is on Wed.

            1. Pompel
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              That's make me wary of getting in any of them

        • wulfrunian
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Any news from Villa?

        • gart888
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Worth using a BB if your bench is:
          Johnstone, Bamford, Adams, KWP ?

          Would have been really nice if the southampton leeds game wasn't cancelled. 🙁

          1. Tsparkes10
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            It’s so annoying 🙁 I would just about

            1. gart888
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Yeah, I'm getting 2 games out of a keeper, and 3 games out of decent players using it this week. Not fully optimized, but I'm not sure that I'll get a better opportunity later in the year.

        • The Colonel
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Who scores more?

          1) Grealish and Firminho
          2) Son and Antonio

          1. Tsparkes10
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            2

        • Tsparkes10
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Who to downgrade to do McCarthy, Adams to Martinez/De Gea, Watkins/Antonio?

          A) Robo to Dias
          B) Salah to Kdb or sterling

        • Shark Team
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          TC Salah is my choice over BB cause i dont wanna go -12. I will WC as soon as we know the gw26 dgw fixtures in order to build a good BB and also keep transfers to manage gw29.Do we think Mo starts both games? He has to... after a whole rest week for Pool players. But it worries me that the play ManU and Spurs between 7 days right after the Burnley game, Do you think Klopp is gonna rotate his squad for the BUR(H) game?

          1. BeWater
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Liverpool aren't in form and need to start winning to stay in the title race. I can't see why Salah wouldn't start both games. No Jota in the picture either.

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

            A B or C guys?

            A- KWP to Stones
            B - DCL to Antonio
            C - Something Else?

            Martinez Foster
            TAA Robbo James Maguire KWP
            Salah Son Fernandes Burke Bissouma
            Bamford DCL Watkins

          3. TNB
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Nice article but doesn't necessarily apply to a season plagued with rearranged games and players testing positive.

              Good advice for a normal season though.

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

              Expect more points from A or B?

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

              1. Tsparkes10
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                A

              2. Stormbringer22
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 26 days ago

                B is too difficult to predict with so many variables. I would say A

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

                B

            • McSlu
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              A: Cancelo, Soucek
              B: Stones, Foden

              Have Dias already

              1. Tsparkes10
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                A

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

                  TY

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

                A

            • Gudge
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Hi all,

              Thinking of doing a BB this week with the following transfers.if I did 3 transfers it would give me 11 double and 4 single game week players. Some advice please

              McCarty Forster
              AWB stones Dallas cancelo coufal
              Son grealish Fernandes De Bruyne soucek
              Kane bamford Davis

              A Forster , son, Davis > Martinez, rashford, Antonio -8
              B: Forster, Kane, Davis > Martinez, Vardy, Antonio -8
              C save BB and son > salah

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

              Who would u prefer for the next 6 weeks

              A Son

              Or

              B Robertson

              Formation - 352 vs 442

              Cheers

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

                Son

            • Garfield1001
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Would you BB this team with 1FT to use:

              Johnstone McCarthy*
              Dallas* Justin Coufal Lowton Robertson
              Soucek Son* Salah Fernandes Raphinha*
              Adams* Bamford* Kane*

              Currently have 7 non DGW players

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

                Wtf!? Looks exactly like mine posted same time...

              2. Vovhund
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                I would absolutely save BB

            • Vovhund
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Current team:
              Johnstone-McCarthy
              TAA-Justin-Coufal-Dallas-Stones
              Salah-Bruno-Son-Soucek-Raphina
              Kane-Bamford-Wood

              Would you do:

              TAA+Son+Wood to Holding+KdB+Antonio (-8)??

            • Pépé Pig
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Hey guys,

              Really want Salah but struggling to see a good way to get him in: any advice greatly appreciated!

              Martinez
              Cancelo Stones Coufal Dallas
              Bruno Rashford KDB Son
              Kane Bamford*
              Forster Adams Mitchell Burke. 0.5itb

              1. dbeck
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Ditching two of Rash, Son and Kane seem the places. Son and Kane to Antonio and Mo might be worth it

                1. Pépé Pig
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  2 months, 26 days ago

                  Thanks. Would you think Rash and Son to Soucek and Salah might be a decent option also? So many questions marks over Antonio.

                  Problem is any if these moves would need a hit

            • Camino Aleatorio
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Spurs should give Villa a kings ransom for Grealish

              Can you imagine Kane and Sons goals tally with an incredible playmaker behind them?

              Pay Jack the wages flushed away on Bale. Then give Villa Nbombele, Sánchez, LoCelso, Lamela, and Bergwin

              Yeah, that’s a big pile of trash but they are professional players. They would do ok at a sub tier club. You can always sign new bad players to replace them

              1. Hazz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Ndombele has been much better this year.

                Sanchez is worse than Villa's current CBs, so pointless. Lo Celso is alright (when not injured.) Lamela wouldn't be of interest to anyone. Bergwijn is meh, but needed for wing cover.

              2. Black Knights
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Spurs are challenging for the title and half of their forward 4 has to consist of Bergwijn, LoCelso, Lamela, Ndombele. Any combination of them is just dreadful. They don't do anything. No wonder there's so much onus on Son and Kane.

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

              any idea on the Villa first teamers who have had covid and therefore might be doubtful?

              I am wondering if its too risky to bring in Watkins when there are players like Wilson (dgw) who are 'safer' picks given the situation?

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

              Right, I think I'm saving my BB for another time.

              McCarthy
              Robertson / Cancelo / Coufal
              Salah / Fernandes / Son / Soucek / Raphinha
              Vardy / Bamford

              Forster // Alioski / Taylor* / DCL*

              A) McCarthy/DCL > Martinez/Antonio
              B) McCarthy/DCL > Martinez/Cavani
              C) McCarthy/Taylor > Martinez/Stones
              D) Forster/DCL > Martinez/Antonio

              All include benching Raphinha. C keeps DCL, who could then be back for NEW.

              D is more so for if I want to keep SOU coverage handy, but honestly SOU fixtures aren't all that across the next few weeks. This is why I feel McCarthy > Martinez is worthwhile (given fixtures & future doubles too.)

              Thoughts?

            • ZAWAd25
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Which one:

              A) Son + Bamford >> Rashford + Antonio (-4)
              B) Son + Watkins >> Rashford + Antonio (keep Bamford)
              C) Bamford > Antonio (Keep Son)

              1. Obi Wan Elokobi
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Literally none of these

                1. ZAWAd25
                  • 3 Years
                  2 months, 26 days ago

                  So just keep Bamford and Son?

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

                    What's that, an antiques shop?

              2. Dichio24
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Watkins to Antonio? Would keep Bamford

                1. ZAWAd25
                  • 3 Years
                  2 months, 26 days ago

                  I like this move. Cheers mate!

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

              Jordan Peterson? If I start to actively consider Jordan Peterson's ideas when making transfers, I guess it's time to bail on FPL. Tony Robbins and the Peterson references aside, I generally agree with the article that paying attention, careful consideration and not acting rashly are good for long-term FPL success. Jordan Peterson...

            • Dichio24
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Don't like the idea of going without Spurs, but this arguably look quite good:

              Son, Kane, Lacazette to Salah, Vardy, Antonio (-8)

              Yes or No?

              1. FPLtragic
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Yes