#1 RAPTOR 101: “How to Cope with Unsuccessful Captaincy Choices and Transfers in FPL”.

Do you struggle to cope with the emotion and frustration of an unsuccessful or incorrect decision in FPL? Do you struggle to cope with captaincy fails? Taking a -8 hit only for your original players to outscore your new arrivals? Your mini-league rival captaining a player that hauls? Further, do you have difficulties in choosing when to make certain decisions, and as a result experience emotional turmoil?

In this new series ‘RAPTOR 101’, I will explore the Psychology behind these common and understandable emotions, and teach you multiple ways to deal with these effectively and positively – hopefully, this will improve the positive outlook you have on FPL, and perhaps, on life.

In today’s article, we will cover the following:

  1. Outcome bias and how it affects the evaluation of our decisions
  2. Considering the difficulty of FPL and correct decision-making
  3. The importance of highs and lows in FPL
  4. Framing in the bigger picture of your life
  5. Framing in the bigger picture of your future life
  6. Taking a generally positive approach to FPL

1. Outcome Bias – How Does it Affect the Evaluation of Our Decisions?

Photo Credits: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/outcome-bias-not-all-outcomes-are-created-equal

Outcome bias is the tendency to evaluate our decisions based on the eventual outcome, as opposed to the decision-making process (Baron & Hershey, 1988).

An example of this in FPL can be a simple captaincy choice such as that of Jiménez in GW32+. Jiménez had attacking returns in 4 of his past 5 games, and tends to be a BPS magnet when he does return. As well, he was playing against a shaky Aston Villa defence, as part of a Wolves team that were the only team with a 100% record (since the restart) going into GW32+.

The decision-making process to captain Jiménez was both logical and sound, and if it was your gut decision, even better!

The fallacy here, is to evaluate the decision based on it’s outcome. With only 2 points returned (4 in total with captaincy), many people called it a poor decision and would view this decision in a harsh and critical light.

However, the decision-making process was absolutely fine, and due to the difficulty of getting decisions consistently correct in FPL, we must instead focus on the reasons we make decisions.

In other words, instead of being unhappy with your decision because your captain blanked (outcome bias), you should try and reflect positively on your decision because it was made in a sound and logical fashion. Not only will this hopefully improve your outlook on your decisions, it will also lead to much better and more accurate decision-making.

That being, by focusing on the process instead of the outcome, we can learn to improve our analysis and decision-making techniques rather than just responding to points gathered in that GW (Lefgren, Platt, & Price, 2012).

2. FPL is an Incredibly Difficult Game – We Cannot Get Everything Correct!

Photo Credits: https://fantasy.premierleague.com/

This is very important to take note of. FPL is an incredibly difficult game, taking both a great degree of luck and skill. We are trying to predict in advance how 11 vs. 11 humans will perform against each other over 90 minutes, for 10 games, every week!

Assuming all of the teams use their 5 substitutions, there will be 320 players playing each week, and we have to select only 15 of these, and captain only 1! So, cut yourself some slack!

3. The Importance of Highs and Lows – We Need Them Both!

Photo credits: https://quotefancy.com/

Lastly on this (before some Psychological advice on positive thinking) – we need the low, negative experiences of FPL for two reasons.

Firstly, without the experience of negative emotions, positive emotions will begin to become the norm. As such, the adrenaline, euphoria and utter enjoyment associated with getting a decision correct in FPL, will suddenly become less enjoyable.

Without the lows, the highs just aren’t so high!

Secondly, negative events and ‘mistakes’ stimulate improved thought processes and help us move forward with a more positive world view (Vohs, Aaker, & Catapano, 2019).

A great quote to emphasise this is: “Some of the best lessons we ever learn we learn from our mistakes and failures. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.” (Quote by Tyron Edwards).

Therefore, it is best to try to accept that lows are both a part of life and FPL, and to see them for what they are: great learning opportunities and an important counter-balance for positive experiences.

4. Placing FPL Events in the Bigger Picture of Your Life

Photo Credits: https://aboutmeditation.com/using-meditation-to-see-the-bigger-picture/

This is a very useful technique that is often termed ‘Psychological Distancing’. A broad definition of this technique is the separation of oneself from the immediate situation, to consider the broader perspective (i.e. the bigger picture; Shapiro, 2016).

To utilise Psychological Distancing in FPL, you should ask yourself these questions when experiencing unsuccessful decisions:

  • “Is it really THAT bad if I fail in my captaincy choice, have a bad GW and drop in rank?” (The correct answer is NO!)
  • “What is the worst thing that will happen if I have a bad week and drop in rank?” (The correct answer is “nothing really, I just have a lower rank”).
  • “Will this affect my overall life in a negative way?” (The correct answer is no it will not, or it shouldn’t anyway).

By asking yourself these questions you can aim to rationalise and distance yourself from your negative thoughts and realise that FPL isn’t everything. It is only a small part of your life. It’s success or failure is not the end of the world, even if it feels like it is.

Even if it is your full-time job, perfect success on a weekly basis is not the most important part of being in the FPL Community. Positivity, interactions, discussions and good tips are much more important!

5. Placing FPL Events in the Bigger Picture of Your Future Life

Photo Credits: https://wealthvisors.com/looking-into-future-wealth/

If placing FPL in the bigger picture of your current life does not work, we can take this one step further, using a technique I regularly use in everyday life – placing the event in the bigger picture of your future life!

Similar to the above, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • “In 1 year time, will I really care that I had a captaincy fail in GW32+ of the 2019/2020 season?” (You really shouldn’t!)
  • “In 5 years time, will I even be thinking about picking Rashford over Greenwood for GW33+ of the 2019/2020 season? (Absolutely not!)

These events will seem so unimportant in the future. They only seem so important now due to the intensity of emotions that humans are programmed to feel, and we are caught up in the here-and-now.

Considering the future in this way, will help reduce the magnitude and intensity of the emotions we feel, in turn relieving the stress associated with decision-making in FPL.

6. Smile! Laugh! Enjoy the Beautiful Game!

Photo Credits: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/12-jurgen-klopps-best-grins-11994509

This is the most important section of this article, as it combines everything into one positive outlook on FPL.

FPL is a game. It is made for our enjoyment. There is no-one forcing us to play, and no-one forcing us to worry and fear the consequences of an unsuccessful GW or season. It is our duty to ourselves and the community to bring a positive attitude and understand that not every decision will go our way.

If something goes wrong in FPL, place it in the bigger picture of your life, and if this doesn’t work, place it in the bigger picture of your future life.

Laugh it off (if possible!). It is a strange and unforgiving game, but my goodness sometimes the things that go against us can be laughable. When you think, ‘you cannot make this up’, try and laugh, smile, and consider how sometimes, it is out of your control!

To conclude, ladies and gentlemen:


This was written and produced by @FPL__Raptor – click the link to follow him on Twitter, to get more Psychological musings in relation to FPL, to keep up to date with his own progress, or to just be friendly and say hello. 


Baron, J., & Hershey, J. C. (1988). Outcome bias in decision evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(4), 569-579.

Lefgren, L., Platt, B., & Price, J. (2014). Sticking with what (barely) worked: a test of outcome bias. Management Science. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2014.1966

Shapiro, D. (2016). Negotiating the non-negotiable: How to resolve your most emotionally charged conflicts? NY: Viking.

Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Catapano, R. (2019). It’s not going to be that fun: negative experiences can add meaning to life. Current Opinion in Psychology, 26, 11-14.

*Photo credits for the featured image: https://hbr.org/2009/02/why-good-leaders-make-bad-decisions*


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