What makes Manchester City options so strong in fantasy?

AFP/Getty Images

Manchester City are back on top of the Premier League -- level on points with Liverpool, but ahead on goal difference -- after Matchweek 7.

Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero scored the goals in Man City's 2-0 win over Brighton on Saturday. Sterling also provided the assist on Aguero's goal, and currently has the highest fantasy points total for the week (30.3), with Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace still to be played on Monday.

For Aguero, it was his fifth goal of the season -- he's now tied for second in the league with Harry Kane and Aleksandar Mitrovic, one behind Eden Hazard.

But Aguero only finished fourth on his team in fantasy points this week, which may surprise you.

Who else was ahead of him besides Sterling? Well, it wasn't Leroy Sane, even though he had the assist on Sterling's goal.

It was Fernandinho (a defensive midfielder) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (a makeshift fullback making his first league start of the season).

Fernandinho is a little less of a surprise. He would have finished ninth overall among outfield players in fantasy points last season. Fernandinho popped up offensively from time to time, with five goals and three assists. But where he really racked up points was via passes completed -- in fact, he finished third in the league in that category.

He didn't have a goal or assist on Saturday. But Fernandinho took three shots, including one on target. He had three chances created. And he had 98 passes completed, leading to a fantasy points total of 18.8 ... good enough for 10th in the league heading into Monday's game.

Zinchenko did even better, despite also not having a goal or assist. Playing in place of the injured (and tardy) Benjamin Mendy, Zinchenko finished with 20.8 points, currently seventh in the league. He also took three shots, with one on target. He had two chances created. And he completed 123 passes! That's a pretty incredible total for a fullback.

These are two players to keep in mind going forward, if they are available in a midfielder or defender tier. Fernandinho is a staple in the Man City lineup. He started in 33 of their 38 league games last season, and has started in all seven of their league games this season.

Zinchenko is only 21 years old, and started in just six league games last season. But Mendy's status is still very much in question, and it sounds like Zinchenko could start again next weekend against Liverpool.

But here's the catch. I certainly wouldn't choose Fernandinho when Man City is playing another strong team, like Liverpool. Man City shouldn't dominate possession in a game like that, and those passing numbers will go down.

You're not choosing Fernandinho because you expect a goal or assist. You're choosing Fernandinho because he has a high floor fantasy-wise, thanks to his passing numbers.

But at home against Brighton on Saturday, Man City had a whopping 79.4 percent possession. That's the kind of game in which players like Fernandinho and Zinchenko can post big scores even without a goal or assist.

They weren't the only Man City players who did so on Saturday. Midfielder David Silva finished with 18 points, thanks to four chances created and 95 passes completed. Fullback Kyle Walker finished with 15.7 points, thanks to three chances created and 92 passes completed. Both those players are currently in the top 20 for the week as well.

Walker was available as a Tier 1 defender this week. But I went with Tottenham's Kieran Trippier instead, thinking he was more likely to get a goal or an assist playing at Huddersfield Town.

Trippier did deliver an assist, which I was delighted with at the time -- only to discover later that Walker still outscored him this week. Trippier finished with 14.1 points, with only 21 passes completed -- 71 fewer than Walker. It's still a good score for a defender, but obviously Walker was better.

I'll be keeping this in mind going forward. Man City have some tough games coming up, though -- at Liverpool next Sunday, at Tottenham two weeks later, and then the Manchester derby in Matchweek 12.

But in between, they've got home fixtures against Burnley and Southampton. And in those weeks, I'll likely be loading up on Man City players in every tier I can.