Should FPL managers pay attention to price changes early on?

Our team of Pro Pundits, Hall of Famers and guest contributors have returned to offer their Fantasy Premier League (FPL) insight, tips and advice during the new season, with only Premium Members able to access every single one.

Here, former FPL champion Simon March asks whether we should pay much heed to price rises at this early stage of the season.

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One of the big talking points following Gameweek 1 concerned price changes. In particular, the fact that Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane (£11.4m) and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (£11.7m) respectively fell and rose in price before the dust had even considered settling on the Gameweek, forcing many managers to either move early on their switch between the two or be priced out of the move entirely.

Gameweek 2 was no different, with thousands of managers making the switch from Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey (£5.0m) to Brentford’s Josh Dasilva (£4.6m) with fixtures yet to be played, not to mention an entire week to wait before the next deadline.

These situations illustrate a big distinction that exists among FPL managers; those who make early moves and those who make late moves, and this distinction tends to be most stark in the early Gameweeks. We’ve seen all-time FPL greats like Mark Sutherns and Fabio Borges argue either side of the debate, with Sutherns tending to move quite aggressively with the price-change market early on and Borges tending to ignore price changes altogether.

So, who is right? Should we pay attention to price changes?

The argument for early transfers

The argument for making early moves is pretty straightforward; if a player you want is rising in price and you currently have the exact money to get him, then moving early allows you to achieve that. Equally, if a player you own is dropping in price, waiting to move can lock you out of the desired transfers also. 

This approach can, of course, be fairly risky. If you are forced to make moves early in the week, you have less time to think about them and you cannot benefit from team or injury news. It does, however, tend to confer the added benefit of improving your team value. Back in the day, this was a huge part of FPL with dedicated FPL managers often having to put up with mediocre ranks for months until the opportunity came to play the since-deceased ‘Winter Wildcard’, at which point they could put their greater team value to good use and slingshot past the opposition. That was the plan, at least.

You could argue that amassing a high team value could be more beneficial this season than ever given the unlimited transfers managers will have available to them after Gameweek 16, not to mention two Wildcards and a Free Hit Chip. All of these levers are obviously better served by a higher spending budget.

So why do some managers ignore price changes and why do they do as well, if not better, than those who do?

FPL pre-season: Trossard hits hat-trick from wing-back role 1

The argument against early transfers

I’ve already highlighted probably the most obvious benefits of waiting to use transfers; more decision time and more information on which players will actually play. But I’d argue that there is another, greater reason; those who make late transfers are forced to be more creative and to think in more detail about FPL than those who make early ones.

Counterintuitive as it might seem, restrictions can be a source of increased creativity. If you’re a fan of new-wave Danish cinema (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) you might remember the ‘Dogma ‘95 Manifesto’, which was a set of filmmaking rules introduced by directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg and included points such as ‘shooting must be done on location’ and films ‘must not contain any superficial action’. The objective was to force film directors to avoid shortcuts and engage with the filmmaking process on a more intimate and intellectual basis, resulting in a more sincere and ‘pure’ form of cinema.

Similarly, when investing in a company, financiers often like businesses that don’t have too much money in reserve or, better yet, a small amount of manageable debt. Again, as counterintuitive as this might seem, these elements tend to indicate businesses that are run efficiently and have learned to ‘be scrappy’ and live largely within their means, they can therefore be trusted to put any money invested to good use and not to spend it on drum circles or on-tap kombucha.

Essentially, the more you are forced to think about something, the better your performance tends to be over the long run. If you allow your weekly transfer to be dictated early on by price rises, it gives you less reason to think about FPL for the rest of the week. Similarly, later on in the season, you might have a surplus of cash for your Wildcard or Free Hit but this will likely lead to you picking the most obvious players. It would incentivise you to ‘get under the hood’ like an FPL manager with more restricted-spend will. You could argue the advantage either way, but I’d back an engaged FPL manager over a rich one any day.

In fact, the value of a big spending budget later on in the season is probably a bit overstated anyway. A £1m difference in squad value might equate to a £0.5m difference in actual spending power, which is the difference between Arsenal defenders Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.0m) and William Saliba (£4.5m). In other words; you can make up the difference fairly easily.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that managers who wait until making their transfers are probably also more likely to be managers who will carry the extra transfer when they can. More often than not, two transfers will be enough to circumvent any price rises, it might require some creativity with the enabling player(s) but, as discussed, that can be a good thing in itself.


There are benefits to making early transfers, most notably in getting the player you want, and also for maximising team value, something which can pay off later in the season. However, I would argue that these benefits are significantly outweighed by the benefit an FPL manager gains by having more time to consider their transfers, by receiving more team and injury news, and the extra motivation and engagement with FPL that can come from being priced out of the more obvious solutions.

There is no doubt that there are many, top-level FPL managers who make their transfers early and chase price changes (especially at this stage of the season) but I would argue that this practice is peripheral to what makes them great. These are managers who will be deeply engaged in FPL whether they have a particular reason to or not and that is the far bigger reason for why they are successful. For those of us who might need more of a prompt to think about FPL in detail, a few limitations can be exactly what we need.

FPL pre-season: Trossard hits hat-trick from wing-back role 2