Is Patience a Virtue or Foolishness in FPL?

Transfer now? Or transfer later? When it comes to FPL managers, it’s a hotly-contested philosophy.

There are two schools of thought on the best approach to evolving and improving an FPL team for an upcoming gameweek: Either do it right away, as soon as the website or app allows; Or wait until much later, close to the GW deadline.

Some managers might say one route is always better than the other. But, just as in many other areas of life, absolutes like “always” don’t necessarily apply in FPL. So here’s an overview of each strategy so that you can decide which is best for you depending on the situation. First up, the immediate transfers…

Transfer now to beat price changes

We’ve seen a lot of managers make their transfers for the upcoming gameweek quickly – as in the-current-gameweek-isn’t-even-over-yet kind of quickly. They’ve seen a player perform very well, and decide “that player would be a good addition to my team”. Or maybe they’ve seen a player currently in their squads do poorly and decide “that guy’s not for me any longer”. There’s a very knee-jerk element to FPL that’s inherent within the game: As soon as a player does exceedingly well (or frightening poorly), many managers buy (or sell) that player right away.

Part of it is the bandwagon “chasing points” factor that we discussed in our last article here. Some managers believe that since ‘Player A’ did well this gameweek that he’s going to have a repeat performance in the next GW. Strong performances catch our attention, which subsequently increases our demand for those in-form players.

The result of the increased/decreased demand for these in-form/out-of-form players is the price change. The main driver that makes for hasty transfer moves is that managers want to “beat the price changes”. In our experience, this is the biggest reason for quick transfers. Managers rationalize that by transferring players in (or out), they’ll beat an expected FPL price increase (or decrease). This “beat the price change” mentality creates a noticeable amount of activity in the transfer market, especially in the first 24 hours after a gameweek ends where we haven’t even had a real chance to enjoy (or fret) over our green (or red) arrows before we’re contemplating moves for the approaching GW.

Pros and Cons:

Like anything else, there are upsides and downsides to moving in this direction. On the plus side, managers can beat price jumps or drops before they happen. This is useful in scenarios when you won’t be able to afford a player from your watchlist if his price changes by even £0.1m. But that’s the end of the advantages in our opinion.

One knock against this philosophy is that the buying/selling manager has second thoughts and regrets the quick transaction. Maybe the manager got caught up in the hype over a player, transferred him in, and then decided he actually prefers a different move. By taking this path, once you’re in you’re in. You can’t undo a transfer (unless you’re playing your Free Hit or Wildcard chips).

Another detractor is that a newly-acquired player can get sick, injured or fall out of his coach’s favor between the very end of one gameweek and the start of the gameweek in which he’ll play for your FPL team. This is especially true during extended breaks like the recent international break. At the end of GW12, a lot of managers made immediate transfers only to find that the players they brought in were revealed as injured and forced to pull out of their respective national team camps. We’re talking big names like Mendy and Doherty to name just a couple. This usually forces managers into making a second transfer that either eats up a second free transfer, or, the dreaded -4 point hit.

Making transfers to beat expected price changes is risky, and one must go into it with the hope that it pays off well, but also the understanding that it could cause headaches. The aforementioned alternative approach is playing the waiting game…

Wait until player statuses are clearer

The yang to the yin in this scenario is to be patient and wait until the end of the week, closer to the GW deadline – usually the Thursday and Friday of the week leading to the deadline. Managers that decide to take this path are usually not as concerned with price changes as they are with the certainty of a player’s status.

Maybe they’ve heard rumors of a watchlisted player being injured. Or maybe a manager saw something happen in a game or training session that was of concern. Or, if you’ve contemplated adding any Man City midfielders into your FPL squad, you might be leery of Pep’s infamous player rotations! Managers in this scenario have the advantage of keeping an eye on social media and website posts from players’ respective clubs. And these managers also have the luxury of learning the status of players on their radar screens via club’s press conferences.

These pressers usually occur on Thursdays and Fridays. A club’s manager doesn’t always provide a direct update on each player, but if not overtly stated, many times mangers will provide clues to their players’ availability. Whatever the reason, FPL managers that favor this approach prefer sure (or surer) things to preserving budget.

Pros and Cons:

An advantage to playing the waiting game is that many times managers have a much better sense of a player’s availability for the upcoming week of play. There can be a higher level of confidence that players transferred in will start. The idea is that if you only have one free transfer for the week, it’s got to pay off that week – hits are not acceptable. On the flip side, targeted players can increase in price once – maybe even twice – over that time period, depending on market demand. The “waiters” must be comfortable with the notion that they might have to sacrifice £0.1m or £0.2m of budget by delaying transfers.

Whatever philosophy you most identify with at the moment – off and running like a cheetah from the start or laying like a tiger patiently waiting to pounce – know that your mindset might change week to week. And that’s more than OK. You need to do what’s best for you and your team. Some weeks you’ll be the cheetah. And other weeks you’ll be the tiger.

And whichever big cat you are, we always wish that your FPL points are plentiful and your arrows eternally green. Best of luck in Gameweek 13. Cheers.

Written by Gary and Josh Brockman, the father-and-son team known as Let’s Talk Soccer. Check us out and give us a follow on Instagram @LetsTalkSoccer and on Twitter @LetsTalkSoccer2.

 


 

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If you haven’t already, check out our GW13 Q&A article featuring FPL Logic and LetsTalkSoccer. We discuss whether to own Hazard or Sterling, Mendy alternatives and GW13 captaincy picks.

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