Fantasy EPL: Don't go all in with a City stack

Despite a solid showing in this week's Champions League action, you shouldn't rely too heavily on Manchester City players like Raheem Sterling for fantasy EPL purposes. AP

Liverpool has already opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League. It's the biggest gap after five weeks in the Premier League era and comes courtesy of a 3-1 win over Newcastle last Saturday, followed by Manchester City's shocking 3-2 loss at Norwich City. Even so, Man City is -- by far -- the biggest favorite this coming weekend. They play at home against Watford, who are propping up the bottom of the table (three defeats and two draws) while conceding 10 goals in the process.

Man City looked to be back to its typical dominance in the side's 3-0 Champions League victory at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. Better yet, Sergio Aguero was given the night off, which means he'll be well rested and is very likely to start against Watford. Aguero has scored in all five of Man City's Premier League games so far, and is tied for the league lead with seven goals in total. He's also tied for the league lead in shots with 19. Aguero will be my Tier 1 forward and captain this week.

However, I'll be avoiding the Man City options at Tier 1 midfielder. Raheem Sterling has played the full 90 minutes in all five Premier League games so far, plus the full 90 against Shakhtar. He has also failed to score in the past three games. I think he may be rested against Watford. Additionally, Kevin De Bruyne has scored only one goal so far this season.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have each scored four goals. Liverpool has a tougher game on paper, at Chelsea. However, Chelsea has conceded even more goals (11) than Watford. (Norwich, with 12, has conceded the most in the Premier League.) I'm going with Salah over Mane, given that Salah has taken five more shots this season. He also took 50 more shots last season. I'll also take Liverpool fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold. He has two assists and now leads the league in chances created with 21 -- two more than De Bruyne -- after picking up seven of them against Newcastle last week. He'll be my Tier 1 defender.

I will, however, return to Man City for my keeper. No goalie in the league has more than two clean sheets through the first five weeks of the season. Ederson is one of seven keepers with two of them in league play, and he did post one against Shakhtar on Wednesday. Watford have scored just four goals in five games and only one team has scored fewer, Crystal Palace, with three.

Love the Canaries

Last weekend, newly promoted Norwich City delivered the result of the season thus far -- and they've been delivering for fantasy players as well. Teemu Pukki had a goal and an assist against Man City, and is up to six goals on the season, just one behind Aguero and Chelsea's Tammy Abraham. Pukki will be my Tier 2 forward this week, with Norwich playing at Burnley.

I did think about picking Ashley Barnes instead, since Burnley are playing at home. Barnes scored four goals over the first three games of the season, but he has blanked in the last two games, taking only one shot last week against Brighton. Meanwhile, Pukki's teammate Emiliano Buendia will be my Tier 3 midfielder. Buendia collected two assists against Man City and is up to four on the season, just one behind the league leader, De Bruyne. He's also tied for fourth in the league in chances created with 13. Burnley has just one win this season, and it came in the opening week of the campaign.

Other picks

  • Richarlison, Everton (Tier 2 midfielder): Richarlison has had two good games in a row. He followed up his brace against Wolves with an assist, four shots and three chances created in Everton's 3-1 loss to Bournemouth last week -- and one of his shots hit the woodwork. Plus, Everton is a solid favorite this weekend, at home against Sheffield United.

  • Lewis Dunk, Brighton (Tier 2 defender): Dunk already has an assist this season, scored a goal that was disallowed by VAR, and is 15th in the league in passes completed, averaging 52.4 per game. Plus, Brighton sits ninth in the league in possession at 53.3% and will be up against Newcastle, who average a league-low 33.9%. Last week against Newcastle, all four Liverpool defenders had at least 81 passes completed.