Pro Pundit Teams

How checklists can help you make better FPL decisions: Part 2

Ex-FPL winner Simon March: How to avoid getting carried away with your GW1 picks

In my previous article, we discussed how checklists have dramatically improved outcomes in areas as diverse as air travel safety and reducing hospital infections and considered how they might also improve decision-making when it comes to Fantasy Premier League (FPL). In particular, I suggested that they might help compensate for our imperfect memories, mitigate our tendency towards overconfidence and help control our impulses.

This week, I’ll be expanding on the topic to address the question of what makes a good decision checklist, how best to use one and, finally, I’ll share the checklist that I’ll be using this season to help steer my transfer decisions.

And, no, I don’t have anything better to do. Nor do you. So let’s begin.

What Makes a Good Decision Checklist

What will make a good checklist will vary depending on the context. If you’re dealing with something particularly complex, such as a shuttle launch, the checklist might necessarily be quite long. 

A good decision checklist, however, will always be as short as possible and only feature important items. The longer a checklist is, the longer it will take to complete and the more likely it will not be used or not be used properly.

Focusing only on what is most important is also vital as this allows you to afford your time to areas where it will be most significantly spent. In addition, if a checklist has too many items, it might go too far in narrowing the options available.

In summary, a good decision checklist is detailed enough to be useful, but judicious with its items, allowing it to be completed easily and be efficient in its scope.

How to Use a Checklist

Now that we’ve established that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to checklists, we should also acknowledge that it’s how you use them that really counts.

The point of a decision checklist is that it introduces consistency and rigour to the decision process and, as a result, it helps control some of the more negative effects of our cognitive biases. The value of checklists, however, is not necessarily measured by how rigidly or dogmatically their items are followed.

Context is always important and each item should always be considered in relation to where you are in your FPL season at that particular moment. For example, your checklist items might effectively rule out a particular player but, perhaps, this player has a double gameweek or maybe you are about to Wildcard after this Gameweek, meaning you only need the player for one week as a punt.

These and other factors can influence whether the items of your checklist are appropriate for that moment and, while it is important to take them relatively seriously if you want them to work, they are there to guide your decisions, not to dictate them.

Finally, a checklist does not need to be written in stone but, ideally, should evolve and be perfected over time. If it needs additional items, or items to be removed to be effective, go ahead and add or subtract them.

My Transfer Decision Checklist

Because I like to ‘eat my own dog food’ (not literally) I’ve drafted a checklist that I’ll be running all my transfer decisions past this season. Generally, I’m using this after I’ve identified a player I might want as a means of either deciding between multiple options or as a final sense-check before I push the transfer button.

Currently, I use a traffic light system marking each item as Green = Good, Yellow = Caution, Red = Bad based on how well the player fits that particular item. If my checklist is all or mostly green, I’ll go ahead with the transfer. If it’s significantly yellow or red, I’ll either look at other options or any contextual factors that might mitigate them.

Here’s the checklist:

  1. Are they nailed on?
  2. Are their next six fixtures favourable?
  3. If I had to, would I be happy to hold them for the whole season?
  4. Do they negatively impact my team’s flexibility?
  5. Do they play for a good team?
  6. Are they heavily involved for their team (e.g. the ‘talisman’ and/or on set pieces)?
  7. Do they actually improve my team over the player I’m transferring out?
  8. Are there bigger issues to solve first?
  9. Can I make this transfer later in the week?
  10. Could I bank this transfer instead?

Now, I stress, this checklist is not an exhaustive list of the factors I look at when picking a player, I still look at underlying statistics, eye test and all the other things we might use when making decisions and these could, indeed, be checklist items themselves. For me, however, my checklist reflects the principles which, when I stick to them, tend to correlate with me doing better in FPL. Ideally your own checklist will be similarly tailored based on your own experiences.

The added benefit of personalising your decision checklist is that, if it really doesn’t work, you will at least have empirical evidence that your preferred strategy might not be ideal. That doesn’t sound like much of a consolation but, in the long run, it could be an extremely valuable insight, and one that you can only gain through consistency in your style of play.

Finally, checklists need not only be for transfer decisions. They might be used for captaincy decision criteria or deciding when to Wildcard or to play other chips or all sorts of FPL-related decisions you might want to introduce more accountability for.

Summary

A good decision checklist is short but substantial. Too long, and they may be overly restrictive and will probably put you off investing your time in completing them. But, they should include the items that you consider important to your decision process.

Good use of a checklist does not necessarily require dogmatic adherence to its items and the current context will always be important to consider. Checklists are there to make you stop and think and their true value comes from the consistency with which they are used.

Finally, the best checklists will reflect your own experience of the game and the challenges you have faced. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses and decision checklists not only give us cause to consider what those might be, but they also give us a means of taking account and consistently addressing them whenever we make an FPL decision.

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

Full-year memberships and monthly subscriptions are now available.

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.

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493 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Wildcard decisions
    Az
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 12 Years
    6 days, 13 hours ago

    How are those Wildcards coming on Wildcarding peeps?

    What are the big decisions you're deliberating?

    1. CrouchDown
      • 9 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Regretting pulling the trigger tbh with doubts around some of the players I was targetting

    2. Ephurion
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Which and how many che/city players to go for

      1. Ephurion
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        Read: Nailedness and city attackers

    3. Little Red Lacazette
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      I thought I would WC this int'l break but have backed off for now.

    4. ZimZalabim
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      big decisions are do we go with a 4th premium def with a mid priced mid and budget forward or a 2nd premium mid with a budget def and striker or mid priced trio in all three positions.

      So essentially team structure decision is a tough one, Im currently leaning towards option 3 with Jimi and Foden plus a 4.5 def over getting a second city or chelsea def or son with budget players filling in the gaps.

      What do you think AZ ?

    5. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Raya v Ramsdale
      White v Duffy
      Hwang v Toney v Armstrong

    6. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Not sure when to WC, it is not pressing for me yet.

    7. Sloopy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 days, 12 hours ago

      Lukaku or De Bruyne?

      1. ZimZalabim
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 11 hours ago

        Lukaku

    8. TD Jakes
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 days, 11 hours ago

      If Son is worth the extra over Foden/Grealish.
      Son means downgrading Saka to ESR and Dias to Duffy.

      1. Zilla
        • 4 Years
        6 days, 10 hours ago

        No imo, specially with these fixtures.

        1. TD Jakes
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          5 days, 19 hours ago

          Thank you.

    9. Kun Tozser
      • 6 Years
      6 days, 7 hours ago

      Ditch Antonio having bought GW1

      Ederson as GK, why not? Cash pool for later?

      Lukaku meh but those fixtures - could even punt Kane this GW before moving on?

      JWP red carded - is there another option to target for the fixtures?

      Bank a Villa player for upcoming fixtures

      Toney looks a great pick

    10. Lukakuna
      • 4 Years
      6 days, 3 hours ago

      Saving mine for January so I can get Mbappé

  2. tomasjj
    • 7 Years
    6 days, 13 hours ago

    a) KDB + Townsend
    b) Foden + Mount

    What would you prefer?

    1. FOO FIGHTER
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      A

    2. Little Red Lacazette
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      a

    3. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      KDB + alternative to Townsend. With DCL and Rich due back after IB, Townsend is less appealing as a pick

      1. tomasjj
        • 7 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        Thanks, good point!

        Who then? Sarr? Saka?

        1. Tonyawesome69
          • 2 Years
          6 days, 13 hours ago

          Mbeumo and Saka would be my two cheap picks

          1. tomasjj
            • 7 Years
            6 days, 13 hours ago

            Cheers, Tony.

            1. Tonyawesome69
              • 2 Years
              6 days, 13 hours ago

              Good video from FFFix on budget mids 5.5-6.5m

              https://youtu.be/i1tU4Nm_898

              1. Eh, just one more thing ...
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                6 days, 13 hours ago

                Yeah this was decent, helpful table.

    4. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      A … but with Mbeumo

  3. Little Red Lacazette
    • 5 Years
    6 days, 13 hours ago

    Playing Sarr over Livramento correct right?

    Sanchez
    TAA* Rudiger White
    Salah Jota Greenwood Sarr
    Jimenez Lukaku Antonio

    Steele Livramento Brownhill Amartey

    1. FOO FIGHTER
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Leeds may not have Raphina or Bamford.

      I don't see Watford scoring.

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        Livra good chance of CS...possibly.

    2. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Play the one that would piss you off more if they scored well on your bench

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        Sarr by a mile.

        1. HMC
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          6 days, 13 hours ago

          Fwiw I have a feeling I’ll be playing both this week!

    3. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Yes, Liverpool likely to be without Alisson and Fabinho, defensively not as strong without them and new manager bounce

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        thanks

    4. Exeterslowly
      • 6 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Not so sure. A new manager may also be unsettling and lavremento has the much better fixtures

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 5 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        It is a tough choice honestly

    1. Random Name
      • 6 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      But of course he only wants to start managing them at the start of next season to spend big and mask his inability to manage lower quality players. They need to find a manager that wants to start now, transcend their club and get a 10 month head start

      1. Fulchester's New Centr…
        • 4 Years
        6 days, 13 hours ago

        They can have OGS for the rest of the season, he was a great caretaker.

  4. Exeterslowly
    • 6 Years
    6 days, 13 hours ago

    Is Jesus a worthy replacement for Ronny? Not sure about his game time?

    1. Little Red Lacazette
      • 5 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Nah, Lukaku much better...just make sure you buy when cleared fit.

    2. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      Not when Jesus is likely to miss GW8 due to the period between Brazil's last game and City 3pm KO

  5. Vasshin
    • 2 Years
    6 days, 13 hours ago

    Should I use wildcard or just use 2ft and 0.3 itb

    Sanchez foster
    TAA Rudiger liver white omaba(3.9)*
    Salah raph grealish brownhill(4.4)* jota(7.6)*
    Ronaldo Antonio Toney(6.3)*

    I don’t really see that i need to transfer out anyone else beside those players in asterisk. I don’t think i need to use my wildcard this week unless some other players i have are injured as 3.9 defender and 4.4 mid are last and second last in bench and they rarely have to come on from bench. So now only Jota and Toney are the candidates for transfer.

    So who should i change
    1. Jota to Foden
    2. Jota, toney to esr and Jesus
    3. Anything else

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      No I woudln't WC. I don't see why you would transfer out Toney when Brentford have favourable fixtures after GW8.

      Probably Jota out

  6. Jinswick
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    6 days, 13 hours ago

    Which WC fillers would you go for here?

    A) Tierney & Mbeumbo (3-4-3 or 4-3-3)
    B) Manquillo & Saka (3-4-3)
    C) Rudiger & D Luiz (4-3-3)

    Ramsdale, Foster
    Cancelo, Chilwell, Laporte, xxx, Livramento
    Salah, Son, Raphina, xxx, Brownhill
    Lukaku, Antonio, Toney

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      For me, easily A

    2. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      A, but can you do White & Mbeumbo and use the MITB to upgrade Laporte to Dias ?

    3. Bobby Digital
      • 4 Years
      6 days, 13 hours ago

      A

    4. TheBiffas
        6 days, 11 hours ago

        C. less money rotting on bench

    5. theswallow1965
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 days, 13 hours ago

      Do I need to do anything with this bunch?

      Ramsdale / Begovic
      TAA / Cancelo / Alonso / Livra / Williams
      Salah / Saka / Sarr / Gray / Allan
      Ronaldo / Lukaku / Dennis

      0 itb
      1 FT

      Cheers guys.