This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Thursday's seven-game NHL slate shouldn't lack for quality, as six of the top eight teams in the standings are scheduled to take the ice. The Wild, Kings and Stars are primed to take advantage of home matchups against inferior opponents in the Flyers, Maple Leafs and Jets, respectively, but it's important not to forget about other factors when selecting the top individuals for your DFS lineups. All of the guys below are good bets to deliver strong production relative to their current value:
Devan Dubnyk, MIN vs. PHI ($35) - Dubnyk has held opponents to two goals or less in each of his last five starts, while the Flyers have topped that mark just three times in their last nine games. Add in the fact that Minnesota should be heavily favored to handle the league's second-lowest scoring team at home, and Dubnyk makes for an excellent candidate to surpass his $35 value and outperform most, if not all, of the six goaltenders priced above him.
Goalie to Avoid:
Roberto Luongo, FLA at OTT ($40) - All winning streaks are bound to come to an end, and Luongo's personal eight-game run could be in serious jeopardy against an Ottawa team that has needed just 38 shots to score four goals on the veteran in their first two clashes of the season. Spending $40 on a goalie facing a top-10 offense is rarely a winning strategy.
Tyler Bozak, TOR at LA ($17) - Bozak has been playing exceptionally well of late, with five goals, five assists and 87.0 fantasy points over his last 10 games. The defensively-responsible center has a plus-3 rating this season despite playing for a subpar Maple Leafs team, and he brings tremendous all-around value for just $17. Don't let a seemingly tough matchup with the Kings scare you off, as Toronto has actually exceeded Los Angeles' 6-4-0 mark over the past 10 games.
Centers to Avoid:
Sean Monahan, CGY vs. ARI ($20) - This game figures to be high-scoring, as it pits two of the three worst defensive teams in the NHL against each other. That being said, Monahan is mired in a five-game pointless slump, and has seen his ice time reduced to under 17 minutes per game over the last two. The young center isn't worth a $20 price tag, regardless of opponent, until he regains his confidence.
Laurent Dauphin, ARI at CGY ($16) - Dauphin sent back to the AHL on Wednesday. Look elsewhere if you're looking to stack against the shaky Calgary defense, because he won't be in Arizona's lineup.
Drew Stafford, WPG at DAL ($17) - The Stars have shown some vulnerability of late, allowing 15 goals while dropping three straight games. Stafford has three goals, two assists and a plus-5 rating over his last five games, and he's as primed as any Jets player to take advantage of Dallas' recent defensive lull after scoring two power-play goals Monday in Nashville.
Nino Niederreiter, MIN vs. PHI ($16) - Ever since taking a season-high five shots on goals Dec. 21 against the Stars, Niederreiter has turned into a more aggressive offensive player and it's paying off. Including that contest, the Swiss winger has 23 shots in his last eight games (2.9 shots per game) after averaging just 1.5 shots per game in his first 31 appearances of the season. The result of this change in mindset? Seven points and a plus-6 rating in eight games compared to 12 points and an even rating after 31. The new and improved Niederreiter is a bargain at $16.
Wing to Avoid:
Marian Gaborik, LA vs. TOR ($18) - Gaborik has only 16 points in 39 games this season and has topped 16 minutes of playing time just once in his last six. With just one goal, three assists and a minus-4 rating in his last eight appearances, it's easy to see why Gaborik's ice time has been cut.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI at CGY ($22) - Nine of Ekman-Larsson's 10 goals this season have come in his last 24 games, as the offensive-minded blueliner has really picked up his production after a slow start. He found the back of the net in Arizona's only other meeting with the Flames on Nov. 27, and the Swede's ability with the man advantage (11 power-play points this season) should come in handy against the NHL's worst penalty kill.
John Klingberg, DAL vs. WPG ($18) - The sophomore defenseman continues to get no respect, as he's priced at just $18 despite having 38 points through 42 games and being in the midst of a five-game point streak. Klingberg has managed to average a respectable 5.2 fantasy points per game during a rough patch that saw the Stars drop four of their last five, and there are much greener pastures ahead for the talented blueliner. There are more defensemen priced above Klingberg on Thursday (12) than there are NHL players who have outscored him this season (eight).
Defensemen to Avoid:
Jacob Trouba, WPG at DAL ($19) - A two-goal game on Dec. 29 is the only thing standing between Trouba and a goose-egg in the points department over the past 13 games. Sure, he blocks more shots than most defenseman, but that skill isn't worth spending $19 on, especially on the road against a division-leading team hungry to end a three-game losing streak.
Mike Green, DET at SJ ($17) - Green has just 35 blocked shots this season, so his value stems from his offensive contributions. The problem is that he has just two goals, 13 assists and a minus-4 rating in 34 games. With just three points and an even rating over his last 10 games, Green hasn't been moving the needle much at all lately.