This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Wednesday's NHL slate features five games and begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time. Through a combination of production and matchups, certain players stand out as strong value plays while others are overpriced and should be avoided. Read on to see who falls into which category.
Aaron Dell, SJ at ARI ($27): While Dell's having a down year so far, his career numbers (2.53 GAA, .914 save percentage) are strong for a backup. With the Sharks in excellent form in front of him, look for Dell to start closing the gap between his season and career numbers against a Coyotes club that ranks third from the bottom with just 2.53 goals per game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Carter Hutton, BUF at CGY ($29): Hutton's been atrocious over his past two outings, surrendering nine goals on 42 shots. Getting back on track will be awfully tough in this road matchup against a Flames team that's scoring 3.68 goals per game – second-most in the league.
Nathan MacKinnon, COL at OTT ($34): The sky's the limit for MacKinnon in this highly favorable matchup. His 66 points are good for fifth in the league, and the MVP candidate's 209 shots on goal lead the NHL by a wide margin. He gets a golden opportunity to boost both of those totals significantly against a Senators club that's surrendering a league-high 3.87 goals per game.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jack Eichel, BUF at CGY ($29): Eichel's looked a step slow in three appearances since missing nearly two weeks with an upper-body injury, posting no points and a minus-3 rating. Calgary's talented offense is more than capable of extending Eichel's woes in the plus/minus department, and it's tough to justify spending $29 on him until his scoring touch returns.
Matthew Tkachuk, CGY vs. BUF ($23): Tkachuk has gotten off to a hot start in 2019, with seven goals and 12 points in his past eight games, including Dec. 31. Calgary's 15-4-4 on home ice while the Sabres are only 9-11-3 away from Buffalo, so Tkachuk should be able to continue his recent scoring ways in this home matchup, especially given Hutton's recent struggles in net for the Sabres.
Jake DeBrusk, BOS at PHI ($14): DeBrusk missed practice Tuesday with a lower-body issue and could sit this one out, but he's a terrific value at $14 if he plays. The 14th overall selection in the 2015 draft benefits from favorable lineup deployment, as he's skating on the top power-play unit and second line. Look for that usage to pay off against a Flyers club that surrenders the third-most goals per game (3.57) and kills penalties at the league's fourth-lowest rate (76.2 percent).
WINGS TO AVOID
Claude Giroux, PHI vs. BOS ($24): You could do worse than Giroux's one goal, five assists and minus-1 rating over the past 10 games, but $24 players should be giving you more. Don't expect more against a Bruins team that ranks among the league's three stingiest defensively, holding opponents to 2.59 goals per game.
Ryan Dzingel, OTT vs. COL ($18): Colorado's weakness defensively is on the penalty kill, as the team ranks fifth-worst at just 76.3 percent in that department. Unfortunately for Dzingel, he doesn't skate on Ottawa's top power-play unit and will thus have a tough time taking advantage of that weakness. Meanwhile, Colorado's seventh-ranked offense could easily capitalize on Dzingel's own defensive struggles and lower his minus-14 rating further.
Darnell Nurse, EDM at VAN ($18): Nurse remains significantly undervalued for a player with his level of offensive output from the blue line. He has four goals and 17 points in the past 19 games, and while Nurse hasn't previously produced at this level, it's very possible that the seventh overall selection in the 2013 draft is simply coming into his own at age 23. While his minus-5 rating is a sore spot, Vancouver's unlikely to make a further dent in Nurse's plus/minus considering the Canucks have been outscored 3.11 to 2.87 on average this season.
Maxime Lajoie, OTT vs. COL ($10): Lajoie is the guy for owners hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with offensive production from a cheap blueliner. He already has eight power-play points this season and could continue to see run on the team's top unit if Ottawa opts to ease Thomas Chabot back from his upper-body injury or pairs up the two. Given Colorado's aforementioned struggles on the penalty kill, Lajoie has some serious upside here at the minimum price.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Erik Johnson, COL at OTT ($17): Colorado's likely to have a nice game offensively, but don't expect Johnson to get in on the fun. With 14 points through 46 games, the stay-at-home blueliner is on pace to finish south of 30 points for the fifth consecutive season and eighth in the past nine. The offensive upside just isn't there at $17
Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI vs. BOS ($18): Gostisbehere has improved lately, but his season rating is still an ugly minus-14. With Boston's strong defensive play likely to cap his scoring upside, Gostisbehere's low floor defensively could be exposed here.