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Dec 18, 2012

Segment 1 closing fantasy strategy

With Gameweek 17 complete and Chelsea and Southampton rejoining the Premier League schedule, fantasy managers who still have unused transfers should think about player moves for the final four rounds in Segment 1.

Since unused transfers cannot be carried over to Segment 2, here are players (currently fit to feature) and team match-ups to consider for the remainder of Segment 1:

Gameweek 18 (December 22-23)

Newcastle-QPR: The inviting net of a team with a bulls eye on their goalkeeper's jersey make Newcastle players, including Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse good transfer choices. Hatem Ben Arfa is out with an injury until Segment 2.

On the other hand, the Magpies are sinking fast and Adel Taarabt of QPR has had two goals and an assist in his last two matches.

Gameweek 19 (December 26)

Aston Villa-Tottenham: The chances for Spurs to score big against a weak Aston Villa team make players like Gareth Bale, Jermaine Defoe and Clint Dempsey good transfer options. If Emmanuel Adebayor recovers from a hamstring injury, he is also a consideration. Until recent games that saw Christian Benteke and Andreas Wiemann score goals, a clean sheet seemed likely. But even with the outbursts from the Belgian and Austrian, Villa have still only scored 15 goals in 17 games.

Sunderland-Manchester City: Relegation candidate Sunderland presents goal-scoring chances for Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko. Don't bother with Mario Balotelli. Of course predicting whom The Scarf will start at forward is another matter. Midfielders David Silva and Yaya Toure are also potential picks. Sunderland seldom scores, so multiple defensive points from Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, etc. are likely.

Gameweek 20 (December 29-30)

Sunderland-Tottenham: (See comments in Gameweek 19 for both teams)

QPR-Liverpool: Luis Suarez unleashed against the Rangers is an inviting fantasy point scenario.

Norwich City-Manchester City: The Canaries are not pushovers but will be an inviting fantasy target for the potent City lineup.

Gameweek 21 (January 1-2)

The final fantasy round in Segment 1 is the best run of games to shuffle your lineups.

Chelsea-QPR: This has all the makings for a rout. Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Oscar, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Petr Cech -- are Blues who offer fantasy potential in the game at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool-Sunderland (See comments for weeks 19 and 20 regarding the Black Cats)

Southampton-Arsenal: Goals-a-plenty and a clean sheet seem in the making here. Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Wojciech Szczesny, etc. will be poised to begin the New Year with a road result against a team that bleeds Premier League goals.

Tottenham-Reading: (See comments in week 19 for Spurs players.) Reading, the most scored on Premier League team will be target practice.

Wigan-Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson has the highest scoring team in the Premier League and will be up against a team that can be tough at home, but you like the chances of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Chicharito, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverly, and Shinji Kagawa against the Latics who have given up 32 goals. And despite giving up 24 goals in 17 matches, a clean sheet could come from Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, and David DeGea.

Other players who offer fantasy potential and value: Michu, Swansea City, midfielder Kevin Nolan, West Ham, midfielder Stoke (any defensive player) Mikel Arteta, Arsenal midfielder and penalty kick taker

Note: Chelsea and Southampton will play an extra game on a still-to-be-determined date in Segment 2 to make up the postponed match in Gameweek 17. And a reminder to wait until just before Game Day each round to make your changes. You never know when a player will go down with an injury or become ill.