This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Saturday's NHL slate is as large as any you'll find all season, with 30 of the league's 31 teams in action at some point after 1:00 PM Eastern time. With so many options to choose from, it's imperative to separate yourself from the pack by pinpointing value plays from all over the price spectrum while simultaneously identifying which players should be avoided. Read on to see who falls into which category.
Semyon Varlamov, COL vs. CHI ($31): Varlamov has a golden opportunity to get in the win column in his first appearance since Dec. 17. He's backed by the league's sixth-best offense (3.42 goals per game) and will be facing a Blackhawks club that's getting outscored 3.65 to 2.90 on average.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Mikko Koskinen, EDM vs. SJ ($35): Koskinen has struggled mightily of late, recording a total of 4.2 fantasy points over his past three starts. Extending the scope to his last five starts, Koskinen's given up three-plus goals in four of those contests and at least four goals in three. Facing San Jose's top-10 offense is unlikely to help reverse those recent struggles.
Sean Couturier, PHI at FLA ($20): Couturier's overall production is weighed down by a slow start, but he's been outperforming his $20 valuation for a while now. Over his past 20 games, Couturier has exceeded last season's 76-point pace with 23 points, including 10 goals. Don't expect him to slow down against a Panthers team that ranks among the league's five worst defensively and is playing its second game in as many nights.
CENTER TO AVOID
Kevin Hayes, NYR at NSH ($25): Hayes is in the midst of his best season and comes in riding an eight-game point streak, but it's tough to justify spending $25 on him here. We're talking about a player who has never reached 50 points in a season facing a Nashville team that's holding opponents to a league-low 2.53 goals per game.
Nikita Kucherov, TB vs. MON ($32): Kucherov is the league leader in points with 61, as he's rocketed up that leaderboard thanks to 19 points in his past nine games. The red-hot winger could easily end up leading all skaters in scoring here given his recent form and vulnerable opposition. Not only are the Canadiens playing their second game in as many nights, but they're also without starting netminder Carey Price (lower body).
Tom Wilson, WAS at OTT ($20): Wilson's average of 9.9 fantasy points per game is second among Capitals forwards behind Alex Ovechkin's 12.2, even beating out the likes of Evgeny Kuznetsov (8.7) and Nicklas Backstrom (9.2). All of these guys are primed to find success against a Senators team that's surrendering a league-high 3.89 goals per game, but Wilson's combination of production and affordability make him the best value of the bunch in this favorable matchup.
WINGS TO AVOID
Patrik Laine, WPG vs. MIN ($28): The streaky Laine's in the midst of another drought, having recorded no goals or assists along with a minus-5 rating over the past four games for a grand total of minus-0.1 fantasy point. While he'll face a skidding Wild team that's winless in its past five games, only three of Minnesota's last 10 opponents have scored more than two goals.
Alex Killorn, TB vs. MON ($21): With so many highly skilled alternatives on the Lightning, it doesn't make much sense to spend $21 on Killorn, who's averaging just 6.0 fantasy points per game. Even if you have exactly $21 to spend and insist on a Tampa Bay winger, Tyler Johnson is the more sensible choice considering he's averaging 7.3 fantasy points per contest and is coming off consecutive multi-point efforts.
Shea Theodore, VGK at LA ($14): With Colin Miller out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, Theodore has taken over as the point man on Vegas' top power-play unit. That valuable role has a good chance of translating into production for the affordable defenseman against Los Angeles' 74.1 percent penalty kill, which ranks as the most generous in the league.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF vs. BOS ($16): Dahlin is getting better and better as his rookie season rolls on, and he's now topped 10.0 fantasy points in four of his past eight games. It's tough to turn down Dahlin for $16, especially against a Bruins team that's been outscored 10-5 during an active two-game losing streak.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Nick Leddy, NYI at TOR ($18): Leddy's overpriced in any context, but his lack of production is especially apparent in large slates like this one. There's a multitude of blueliners to choose from here, and every single one of the defensemen priced at $14 or more is averaging more fantasy points per game than Leddy's 3.0.
P.K. Subban, NSH vs. NYR ($22): While the Rangers have been horrid on the road, it's best to wait until Subban fully shakes off the rust from his upper-body injury before deploying him, regardless of opponent. He understandably underperformed Thursday in his first action since Nov. 13, posting minus-1.3 fantasy points.