Yahoo DFS Hockey: Saturday Picks
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Saturday Picks

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.

The NHL is stacking up games this weekend following American Thanksgiving, as 13 matchups await Saturday, including 11 during the evening slate. This article focuses on the night games. Every road team will be playing on the second half of a back-to-back. While that usually sets the goaltenders in stone, always make sure to check back at game time in case of last-second injuries or illnesses. 

GOALIE

Ilya Samsonov, WAS at DET ($29): Samsonov hasn't played an NHL game since Nov. 15, but he's gotten plenty of time in the minors. The rookie has proven his first-round pedigree with a 5-2-1 record despite a modest .912 save percentage, and he garners a favorable matchup to get back into the top-level grind. Detroit has scored a league-worst 1.74 GF/60 at even strength in November.

GOALIE TO AVOID

Mike Smith, EDM vs. VAN ($29): Smith's play has been rocky lately, as he posted an .867 save percentage and 3.72 GAA in November, and his -4.11 Goals Saved Against Average is ninth worst among goalies with double-digit appearances. The veteran should face plenty of high-danger/scoring chances since the Canucks rank eighth in that category during this month. 

CENTER

Matt Duchene, NAS at FLA ($20): Duchene continues to rock in the top six, posting four points in the last five games. The 28-year-old is primed to kick it up a notch, as the Panthers have allowed the most even-strength goals this year (72), and now they'll afford Chris Driedger his first NHL action since the 2016-17 season – he has split time between the AHL and ECHL since then. 

CENTER TO AVOID

Dylan Larkin, DET vs. WAS ($23): Larkin's in the midst of a seven-game pointless streak during which he has a minus-5 rating. The youngster's starting 50.0 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, which is less than last year, and a matchup against a sturdy Washington blue line won't help him break the slump.

WING

William Nylander, TOR vs. BUF ($20): Through 26 games, Nylander already has more goals (nine) than last season, and he's closing in on last year's 27 points as well. The 23-year-old's starting to live up to his contract, and he'll continue flanking Auston Matthews with Mitch Marner (ankle) out. Fire him up confidently against Buffalo's 3.38 GAA. 

Jakub Vrana, WAS at DET ($17): Vrana's role in the offense has been boosted since last year, as he's already lit the lamp 11 times through 26 games, scoring on a whopping 15.5 percent of his shots. The 23-year-old has plenty of volume as well with 2.61 shots per contest. Considering the Red Wings' injury issues in the crease, Vrana is poised to keep the motor revving.  

WINGS TO AVOID

Johnny Gaudreau, CGY vs. OTT ($24): Gaudreau's in a major cold spell, with zero goals, three assists and a minus-12 rating over the past nine games. His price tag is tough to swallow for that production, and it doesn't help that Ottawa has tightened up defensively in November with 2.24 GA/60 at even strength, the ninth-best rate in the league.

Jeff Skinner, BUF at TOR ($19): Skinner has suffered steep regression from last year's 40-goal campaign, as he's lit the lamp just nine times this year. Much of this downfall has come in the last month, as Skinner has just four points over the last 12 games, and he'll face stiff competition from Leafs' netminder Frederik Andersen tonight. 

DEFENSE

Keith Yandle, FLA vs. NSH ($22): The league's current iron man will look to leverage his power-play experience against Nashville's 30th-ranked penalty kill (72.4 percent). Yandle has 20 points over 25 games, and 11 have come with the man advantage. His opportunities are seemingly endless too, as coach John Quenneville deploys Yandle in the offensive zone for 63.0 percent of his shifts.

Tyson Barrie, TOR vs. BUF ($18): Barrie didn't score a goal and posted just seven assists – two on the power play – over the first 23 games. Then Mike Babcock was fired. Since then, Barrie has been superb with three goals and two assists over the last four games. Causation doesn't equal correlation, but Barrie's finally getting a full-time shot with the top power play unit. Deploy the blueliner while his price is still low.  

DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID

Ryan Graves, COL vs. CHI ($18): Graves has registered two points over the last eight contests, and he's being bumped down to the bottom pairing and is no longer skating with Cale Makar. His chances will go down as a result, and going against a red-hot Robin Lehner will be tough to overcome. 

Ryan Pulock, NYI vs. CLS ($18): Pulock has finished with a negative plus/minus rating in five straight games. Having a negative floor like that is troubling when you have a 44.4 Corsi For percentage, and Columbus has been a middling bunch defensively lately with a 2.35 GA/60 at even strength.

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. Jordan Mazzara plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Mazz30, Yahoo: Mazz30.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jordan Mazzara
Jordan has produced NFL and NHL content for RotoWire since 2017. He's the beat writer for the St. Louis Blues and Seattle Seahawks.
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