This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Sunday's seven-game NHL slate begins bright and early at 12:00 PM Eastern time. Below you'll find the players to target and options to avoid in this medium-sized slate.
Cam Ward, CAR vs. NJ ($30): Ward's been locked in recently, with just 12 goals allowed in his past seven starts and five wins over his last eight. He'll get a good opportunity to build on his momentum further against a Devils club that sports a negative goal differential and is playing its second road game in as many nights. Ward also won't burn a hole in your wallet at $30.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Curtis McElhinney, TOR at DET ($38): McElhinney has played well when called upon, but it's tough to justify paying $5 more for him than starter Frederik Andersen costs. While the matchup isn't too tough, using a goalie on the road in the second leg of a back-to-back always carries a high degree of risk.
Leon Draisaitl, EDM at COL ($19): Draisaitl's been on fire recently, as he's lit the lamp in five of the last six games while piling up 17 points in the past 13. Considering he's just 22 years old and coming off a 77-point season, Draisaitl is quite capable of maintaining his strong recent level moving forward. He won't stay this cheap for much longer if he keeps producing, so grab Draisaitl at $19 while you still can.
CENTER TO AVOID
Frans Nielsen, DET vs. TOR ($18): We've laid out the risks with McElhinney, but Nielsen's unlikely to capitalize on this matchup with the backup goalie. The former Islander's recent uptick in form has pushed his price up to $18, but Nielsen's average of 4.4 fantasy points per game is still lowest among centers that cost more than $14. At this price, Nielsen's not worth a look regardless of opponent.
Blake Wheeler, WPG vs. FLA ($31): Wheeler's been incredible on home ice, mustering 43 points in 28 games at Bell MTS Place. That number includes his 10 points in the first eight games of this current homestand. He doesn't come cheap, but Wheeler's worth paying up for against a Panthers team that's allowing the sixth-most goals per game in the league (3.19).
Mikko Rantanen, COL vs. EDM ($20): Rantanen leads the Avalanche with 20 power-play points, making him the team's best bet to take advantage of this favorable matchup. Edmonton's penalty kill ranks last in the league at 70.7 percent, and Rantanen's 33 additional points outside of power-play situations suggest he's far from a one-trick pony.
WINGS TO AVOID
Boone Jenner, CLS vs. PIT ($16): Jenner's fallen out of favor with coach John Tortorella, and for good reason. Boone only has one more NHL goal than Kylie Jenner since Dec. 27, and he's averaging less than 12:30 of ice time over the past five games. Things are unlikely to turn around for him against the two-time defending champs.
Wayne Simmonds, PHI at NYR ($20): Simmonds has struggled since the calendar flipped to 2018, posting only one multi-point effort in 20 subsequent appearances. He's scored 16 of his 36 points this season on the power play and has a minus-7 rating, so Simmonds isn't set up for success against New York's 10th-ranked penalty kill.
Will Butcher, NJ at CAR ($10): Butcher finished with a plus-3 rating when these two teams met Thursday, showcasing the ability to generate value without getting on the scoresheet. He represents little risk at the minimum price but has a decent offensive ceiling judging by his 30 points, including 16 on the power play. A matchup with Carolina's below-average, 80.0 percent penalty kill could help bring out Butcher's upside here.
Dustin Byfuglien, WPG vs. FLA ($22): Byfuglien has four helpers in his past two games and three multi-point outings over the past five. Florida's defensive struggles have already been mapped out, and those are likely to be exacerbated by the Panthers playing their second road game in as many nights. Byfuglien has 20 points in 24 home games compared to just seven in 22 road tilts, so this is the right combination of venue and opponent to utilize Big Buff.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Ian Cole, PIT at CLS ($16): Cole hasn't fired more than two shots in any of his past nine games. That inability to generate scoring chances will make accruing fantasy value very difficult against the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky.
Mike Matheson, FLA at WPG ($16): Matheson's average of 4.8 fantasy points per game is third-lowest among defensemen that cost at least $16, topping only Cole and Greg Pateryn (both 4.4). Exceeding that meager average will be difficult in this brutal matchup against a Jets team that's 21-5-2at home.