Saturdayís 11-game NHL slate is brimming with enticing options due to the high number of teams in action. Regardless of your strategy, itís important to fill out your roster with guys who have a high likelihood of outperforming their respective prices and avoiding riskier, low-upside plays.
Keith Kinkaid, NJ at CLS ($28) - Kinkaid makes for a strong No. 2 option Saturday against the putrid Blue Jackets. Opposing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is winless with 10 goals allowed in three starts since returning from injury, so Kinkaid just has to hold his own to pick up 6.0 valuable points for a win. His high probability of victory makes Corey Schneiderís injury replacement an excellent value pick at just $28.
Goalie to Avoid:
Brian Elliott, STL at VAN ($35) - Elliott is projected to return Saturday after missing about a month with a back injury, but he makes for a risky option playing behind a Blues defense thatís given up 17 goals in their past three games. Let him shake the rust off for a game before putting him in your lineups.
Jack Eichel, BUF at TOR ($23) - Eichel picked up a goal and 13.0 fantasy points against the Maple Leafs less than two weeks ago, and he's in an excellent position to repeat that feat as Buffalo's top center. Toronto's last-place roster tends not to put up much resistance, and the rookie figures to get plenty of opportunities to capitalize on his weak opposition after skating over 20 minutes in each of his last nine appearances.
Center to Avoid:
Zack Smith, OTT vs. MON ($28) - Smith has only 30 points in 70 games this season, making living up to his $28 price an uphill climb. He finally had a long point streak snapped Tuesday, and his stats suggest heís not particularly likely to start another one soon.
Tomas Hertl, SJ vs. NYR ($18) - Hertl is already running hot in the midst of a three-game point streak, and he should stay that way against a Rangers team that he has historically dominated. The Czech winger has four goals in four career meetings with the Broadway Blueshirts, and has a high chance of finding the back of the net considering 22 of his 38 points have come at home, even though only 32 of his 69 games played have been at the SAP Center.
Jaden Schwartz, STL at VAN ($22) - Schwartz continues to deliver offensively for the Blues, as his six points in the last four games give him a grand total of 19 in 23 games played this season. The young winger has been St. Louis' most consistent producer when healthy, and that shouldn't change against a below-average defensive team Saturday. Drafting Schwartz at $22 allows you to get a reliable producer in your lineup without breaking the bank.
Wings to Avoid:
Brad Marchand, BOS at LA ($25) - With just 11.0 fantasy points in his last three games coming into the weekend, Marchand is hardly inspiring confidence in owners heading into a matchup with the red-hot Kings. Los Angeles has allowed just 20 total goals in its last 10 games, meaning Marchandís chances of getting on the board Saturday are slim.
Rick Nash, NYR at SJ ($23) - Nash has been terrible since coming back from injury, posting 11.0 total fantasy points in four games. Stay away until he shows some signs of waking up offensively.
Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI vs. PIT ($22) - Gostisbehere has woken up offensively after a short slump, piling up four goals in his last five games. The rookie out of Union College dominated the Penguins with a pair of assists in his first taste of the rivalry this season, and is a great bet to get on the scoresheet in what should be a fast-paced contest, Those looking for a reasonably affordable, offensive-minded defenseman would be hard-pressed to find a better alternative.
Kevin Shattenkirk, STL at VAN ($22) - Speaking of offensive defenseman, Shattenkirk has three goals on 13 shots over his past three games. Vancouver ranks 22nd in the NHL defensively, so they should be susceptible to a big offensive game from the former member of the Avalanche. His horrendous plus-minus is the only thing keeping Shattenkirkís price down, but he isnít a huge risk in that category with the Blues having won six of their last eight games.
Defenseman to Avoid:
Nikita Tryamkin, VAN vs. STL ($21) - Tryamkin played less than 12 minutes in his NHL debut for the Canucks. A defenseman playing that little ice time should be worth nowhere near $20, let alone above that mark.