Yahoo DFS Hockey: Friday Playoff Picks
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Friday Playoff Picks

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.

The NHL playoffs continue with a four-game slate Friday at 7:00 PM Eastern time. Now that every playoff team has gotten a taste of postseason action, the players below have separated themselves from the pack as options to target or avoid at their respective valuations.

GOALIE

Connor Hellebuyck, WPG vs. STL ($29): It's hard to blame Hellebuyck for Winnipeg's Game 1 loss, as he allowed just two goals on 26 shots but was out-dueled by St. Louis' Jordan Binnington, who stopped 24 of 25. The tight-checking hockey that should persist in this series favors goaltenders, and the Jets are likely to even up the series in Game 2 considering they went 25-12-4 on home ice during the regular season.

GOALIE TO AVOID

Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK at SJ ($35): Fleury hasn't been quite himself since returning from a late-season lower-body injury, allowing four goals in each of his three subsequent appearances. San Jose's offense tied for second-best in the regular season with 3.52 goals per game, so the Sharks will continue to take advantage if Fleury can't find his top form in a hurry.

CENTER

Joe Thornton, SJ vs. VGK ($17): These two teams both play a physical brand of hockey, which often leads to reduction of manpower on the ice. Thornton isn't a dominant 5-on-5 force in his advanced age, but Jumbo Joe still has the size and hands to wreak havoc on the power play or in 4-on-4 situations. In addition to dishing out a helper in the series opener, Thornton was trigger-happy with five shots on goal. If the pass-first pivot continues to fling rubber on net, that just adds more value to his already strong fantasy stock.

CENTER TO AVOID

Mathew Barzal, NYI vs. PIT ($19): Barzal's shot off the iron set up Josh Bailey's overtime winner in Game 1, but it's not surprising that Barzal himself wasn't the man to put the game away. He has just one goal since Feb. 16 – a 25-game span. Owners have every right to expect more from a guy who costs $19.

WINGS

Mark Stone, VGK at SJ ($23): The Golden Knights came out flat in Game 1 and were blown away 5-2, but Stone's performance was the silver lining for Vegas, as he potted both of the team's goals. San Jose still has the shakiest goaltending of any team in the postseason considering Martin Jones finished the regular season with an .896 save percentage, so Stone is primed to build on his strong performance from the opener.

Jordan Eberle, NYI vs. PIT ($18): Eberle seems determined to rewrite his playoff reputation. Part of the reason Edmonton was so willing to trade him was Eberle's poor performance in the team's 2017 playoff run, when he put up just two assists and a minus-6 rating in 13 games. His second trip to the postseason has already been more productive, as Eberle was arguably the Islanders' best player with a goal, an assist and a team-high five shots. At $18, it's worth seeing if he can keep it up in Game 2.

WINGS TO AVOID

Nikita Kucherov, TB vs. CLS ($34): Kucherov's an incredible player, but it's hard to feel good about paying $34 for him right now. The Blue Jackets limited him to two shots and a minus-1 rating in Game 1, and with elite netminder Sergei Bobrovsky as the last line of defense for Columbus, Kucherov won't find it easy to live up to his lofty valuation.

Nick Foligno, CLS at TB ($18): Foligno's price has climbed back up to $18, the highest it's been since Nov. 23. After skating just 14:36 in a bottom-six role during Game 1, Foligno doesn't offer much bang for the buck despite scoring the first of Columbus' four unanswered goals after falling down 3-0 in that contest. 

DEFENSEMEN

Erik Karlsson, SJ vs. VGK ($25): Karlsson answered the questions about his late-season groin injury with a strong Game 1 performance, which included two assists and plenty of strong skating in 26:25 of ice time. Given his tremendous offensive pedigree from the blue line and lack of ice time restrictions, Karlsson represents a nice value at $25 – $7 cheaper than teammate Brent Burns – in Game 2 of what's shaping up to be a high-scoring series.

Ryan McDonagh, TB vs. CLS ($18): Even though the Lightning shockingly blew a 3-0 lead in Game 1, it's not yet time to panic for one of the league's best regular-season teams ever. McDonagh didn't do his team any favors with just one block and no other meaningful statistics in the opener, but this season's runner-up in the rating department at plus-38 has the two-way skills to take things up a notch. The former Rangers captain was also hot offensively to close out the regular season, with 13 points in the final 14 games.

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

Nick Leddy, NYI vs. PIT ($18): Leddy beat Matt Murray with a knuckler from the point in Game 1, but that's his lone point in the past seven games, and just his third in the last 15. The underwhelming production isn't just a recent development for Leddy, whose season average of 4.1 fantasy points is the lowest among all defensemen who cost at least $16 in this slate.

Deryk Engelland, VGK at SJ ($15): There are some intriguing options available on the blue line in the $15-and-under range, but Engelland isn't one of them. The stay-at-home defenseman has mustered just two goals and 10 assists all season, and you have to go all the way down to $12 to find a blueliner averaging fewer fantasy points than Engelland's 3.9 per game.
 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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