What's the secret to a good FPL start?

Danny Graham. Okay, he’s not the secret. He’s the name that epitomises my Fantasy Premier League (FPL) start last season. It was awful.

Weeks of painstakingly tinkering with my team proved a thankless exercise.

It got me wondering: how can we make a good start? We need luck along the way but after so many bad starts, I wanted to explore some of my past mistakes.

Pre-season. What a rascal. It makes Mauro Boselli and Danny Graham look like world beaters. Lionel Messi looks on jealously while simpletons like me are fooled into handing these jokers a place in my forward line.

Needless to say that pre-season form should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

Playing safe isn’t always best. Take Michu and Edin Hazard. Both in and out my team during pre-season more times than Wayne Rooney has requested a transfer, but I spurned them and opted for Danny Graham and Fernando Torres because they were “proven”. Sadly we all know how that turned out.

So when picking your new team, maybe that new signing you’re agonising over might just be worth the gamble. Jonjo Shelvey anyone?

Then how far do we plan ahead? It’s easy to plot the fixtures too far in advance to avoid an early wildcard, only to end up missing out on huge points from players that were deemed too short term.

I made this mistake a few seasons ago when I planned my new team for the first ten Gameweeks. It really was a case of running before you can walk.

Choosing the right captain is as important as ever from the beginning. Those who handed their armband to Hazard in Gameweek 1 last season reaped in 42 points, which immediately catapulted them up the rankings.

It seems there are numerous factors at play but if you mix a little bit of adventure with some good captain choices, you might just have the beginnings of a good start. And avoid Danny Graham, of course.

So I’m off to check out some new signings, and being an Aston Villa fan, there are plenty on offer. Antonio Luna and Aleksandar Tonev are being earmarked as I type (our new left-back and midfielder, if you didn’t know).