Some people are good at Fantasy Premier League: they listen to podcasts, read analysis, remember to trade people right away when they get suspended before they lose value, and understand how bonus points are awarded. Me, I set my team on Friday night—exhausted from work, often slightly drunk, after twenty minutes of wild research, and fueled by irrational notions. It is a largely futile exercise. The internet is full of different approaches to trying hard and being good at FPL. But what does it look like to try and still be bad at it?
Another early deadline, another chance to pick my team before coffee. Thankfully, I know what I must do. On Sunday, I realized I had to get Manchester City’s red-hot striker, Sergio Aguero. But with only one free transfer, I saw no way to do it. My husband explained to me how it can be worth losing four points in a situation like this. I explained again that I only like to transfer when I’ve got two saved up.
Then I didn’t think about it again all week.
Now, here I am, in the quiet car, agonizing. The idea of a four point loss kills me. I’ve never done this before. I just know that whoever I transfer will have a hat trick next week. My approach to FPL could be an intro course to behavioral economics. Step right up, undergrads! Every week, a real-life demonstration on sunk cost fallacy and a reminder that markets are not rational, because people are not rational.
Anyway. I’ve got to get Aguero. I can feel it in my bones. This probably means he’ll be good for four points this week, but no matter. At the least, he can cancel out the loss, and then I have him on my squad. The only way to do this is to give up the points. So I shall.
Easier to part with Chelsea’s disappointing Eden Hazard. Good riddance, until the next time I’m drawn into his orbit. And which striker to transfer? Well, I can’t get rid of Christian Benteke, because my favorite London bookstore is in Crystal Palace. And I only just got Everton’s Lukaku and am not quite irritated with him. So, Ibra. Goodbye, Ibra. I have the feeling I am making a terrible mistake, but my need to get Aguero on the squad is too strong. I need a midfielder, too—let’s go with Spurs’ Son. I like watching him play lately.
Hello, Aguero and Son. Goodbye, Ibra and Hazard. Am I really going to do this? Am I? Everyone in the quiet car is either asleep or putting on mascara. There’s no one to ask. Four points I know I can’t get back, versus the promise of ten points, twelve points, fifteen points, if only I can have faith. I spend more time agonizing about this than I have devoted to setting my team in the last two weeks combined.
Then I remember that in real life, this doesn’t matter at all. What the hell? I approve the transfer.
In the following instant, I realize that nearly half my squad is playing in one game this week, and I have virtually no chance of any clean sheet.
Well, I’m all in, now. Let’s captain Aguero, too. Why not? From one sunk cost ship to another.
Next Friday is going to be great. Nobody loves international breaks as much as I do.
Classic League: 18 (of 19)
Head-to-Head League: 16 (of 20)