Fantasy Premier League: Triple up on Manchester City


Everton will host Manchester City on Wednesday, a game rescheduled due to the latter's involvement in the Carabao Cup final later this month.

That means these teams will play two matches this week, and both will count in terms of ESPN's Premier League fantasy format. So you'll want to give extra consideration to their players when building your fantasy roster, for sure.

First of all, don't worry about Everton! There are five Everton players available this week, but I wouldn't select any of them.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford just conceded three goals to Wolves this past weekend, finishing with minus-12.0 points. Now Pickford will be up against Man City, the highest-scoring team in the league. And Everton's second game, at Watford, is tricky, too. Pickford finished with negative points in Everton's first matches against both these teams.

Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane and Lucas Digne are available as well, but they've all been upgraded to Tier 1 this week because of the extra match. Everton are in poor form -- they've lost four of their past six league games, plus lost in the FA Cup to Championship strugglers Millwall -- and I think there are better options in each of those players' tiers.

However, you will want Manchester City players on your fantasy team this week, of course. The question is, how many?

Let's start with the matchups. Man City are heavily favored at Everton, but they've also been made strong favorites at the weekend, playing at home but against a pretty tough opponent in Chelsea.

Sergio Aguero is coming off a hat trick in their 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday, and naturally will be a popular choice at Tier 1 forward. However, he's far from a lock to start both games this week. Aguero has started the past three league games, and played the full 90 minutes in two of them. And Man City have a very busy month ahead, with the Carabao Cup final looming, the Champions League re-starting, and still involved in the FA Cup as well.

Gabriel Jesus started in place of Aguero in Man City's first game against Everton, a 3-1 win in mid-December, and scored two goals. I wouldn't be surprised if Jesus gets another start against them on Wednesday.

If Aguero does start Wednesday, he'll be my Tier 1 forward and captain this week -- his recent form is just too good to ignore. He has at least one goal or assist in his past six league starts.

If Aguero does not start Wednesday, I won't pick a Man City player in this spot. Jesus has only played 26 minutes in the past three league games, and could be a little rusty. Plus, Man City failed to score the first time around against Chelsea, losing 2-0 in early December.

Liverpool are the biggest favorites of the matchweek, at home against Bournemouth. Mohamed Salah has not scored in the past two games, but Liverpool won 4-0 at Bournemouth earlier this season and Salah got a hat trick. He'd be my Tier 1 forward and captain instead.

Three's company

You have three Manchester City options at Tier 1 midfielder: Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Leroy Sane. There are risks associated with all three of these players.

Sterling is coming off a nice game against Arsenal, including two assists and five chances created. But last Tuesday against Newcastle he actually finished with minus-0.7 points, despite playing the full 90 minutes.

Silva has not scored a goal in his past five league appearances, and has only one goal in his past 10 league appearances. And Sane was an unused substitute in the win over Arsenal.

On the bright side, I actually think that makes it more likely Sane will start both games this week, because he's already been rested. Sterling has started the past eight league games, and has played the full 90 minutes in the past seven -- Pep Guardiola may feel he's due for a break. And Silva, at age 33, is the least likely to start both games this week.

Sterling is averaging more points per game than Sane, but Sane (8) is only two goals behind Sterling (10), and has the same number of assists (9), despite playing 452 fewer minutes. Sane's averaging more points per minute than Sterling -- 0.20, versus 0.18. If Sane starts on Wednesday, he'll be my Tier 1 midfielder.

At the back

The easiest decision of the week, for me at least, is choosing Aymeric Laporte at Tier 1 defender. He's second in that tier in points per game, behind only Virgil van Dijk, and racks up many of his points via passes completed -- he's second in the league in that category, behind only Jorginho. With the extra game this week, Laporte's a no-brainer.

The tougher call is whether to roll the dice with Ederson in goal.

Yes, Manchester City have conceded 20 goals in 25 games -- only Liverpool have conceded fewer (15) -- and he'll have two opportunities to pick up points. But Ederson didn't post a clean sheet against either of these opponents the first time around, conceding one goal to Everton and two to Chelsea, finishing with a combined 2.0 points.

Ederson also conceded a goal to Arsenal on Sunday, and two to Newcastle last Tuesday, finishing with 1.0 and minus-10.0 points, respectively. He's finished with negative points six times already this season, and is averaging only 1.6 saves per game. Ederson feels too risky for me this week.

Instead, I'm going with Alisson. He still leads the league in clean sheets with 13, despite only having one in his past six games. And Liverpool shut out Bournemouth in their first meeting this season.

Bournemouth have also failed to score in their past two away fixtures, and looked flat in a 2-0 loss at Cardiff City on Saturday without the injured Callum Wilson and David Brooks.

Other picks

Fernando Llorente, Tottenham (Tier 2 forward): Llorente has taken at least four shots in each of his three games since Harry Kane was injured, and has a goal, two assists and five chances created as well. Just make sure Llorente starts, because he came off the bench against Newcastle on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic, Crystal Palace (Tier 2 midfielder): He does a lot more than take penalty kicks -- but Palace do draw a lot of penalties, and Milivojevic converted another one this past weekend. He's up to seven goals on the season, and will be playing at home against West Ham on Saturday.

Nathan Redmond, Southampton (Tier 3 midfielder): Redmond scored his third goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday, and all three of his goals (plus both his assists) have come since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over as manager in early December. What's more, Southampton are at home against Cardiff City this week, who have one of the worst defensive records in the league.

Michail Antonio, West Ham (Tier 2 defender): Antonio is last in points per game in this tier, but has the biggest upside. He's been deployed as a winger or forward in recent weeks, and scored his third goal of the season against Liverpool on Monday. West Ham are underdogs at Crystal Place, but they scored three goals against Palace in their first meeting.