Sunday's four-game NHL slate starts bright and early at 12:30 PM Eastern time. There's still value to be found if you know where to look despite the small number of choices, so read on to see which players to target and which to avoid.
Mike Smith, CGY at CAR ($30): Smith's hotter than the Flames logo on his chest, with wins in five consecutive starts and no more than three goals allowed in any of his past 13 appearances. He's been particularly stellar on the road this season, boasting an 8-3-3 record, 1.89 GAA and .946 save percentage.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Tristan Jarry, PIT vs. NYR ($35): The most expensive projected starter in this slate will have his hands full in this matchup. Jarry's likely to start for the second time in as many days with Matt Murray dealing with a personal matter back in Thunder Bay, Ontario, but this Rangers team that's outscoring opponents 2.95 to 2.79 on average presents a much tougher test than the subpar Red Wings team Jarry defeated Saturday.
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Mika Zibanejad, NYR at PIT ($17): Zibanejad took some time to find his rhythm after suffering a concussion, but the man who opened the season with nine goals and 19 points in his first 19 games is feeling good again with goals in three of his past four. Pittsburgh's giving up the ninth-most goals per game (3.07), so don't expect Zibanejad to slow down here.
CENTER TO AVOID
Vinny Lettieri, NYR at PIT ($17): Lettieri's a talented rookie, but he hasn't earned his $17 price tag with an average of just 3.8 fantasy points in under 13 minutes per game four appearances into his career. He's not worth the risk at this price against an explosive Penguins club on the road.
Sebastian Aho, CAR vs. CGY ($19): Unlike the Islanders defenseman with the same name, Carolina's Sebastian Aho is a can't-miss fantasy commodity. If you don't count a Jan. 6 meeting with the Bruins that Aho left due to injury after playing only 5:59, he's managed to mark the scoresheet in nine consecutive appearances -- totaling nine goals and five assists over that stretch. Even a scorching Smith is unlikely to keep Aho from extending that streak.
Mikael Granlund, MIN vs. VAN ($19): Granlund was blanked in his first game of the 2018 calendar year, but he's been tremendous since with six points in four subsequent appearances. The 25-year-old center's 102 points in 110 games since the start of last season suggest Granlund's recent success has been far from a fluke, so look for him to keep the good times rolling against a Canucks defense that's allowing the fifth-most goals per game -- 3.23.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Patrick Kane, CHI vs. DET ($32): Outside of a highlight, 31.7-fantasy point performance, Kane's been struggling of late with just 7.0 fantasy points in the rest of his last five games combined. Overall, the star winger's been a strong contributor as always, but his average of 8.7 fantasy points per game is substantially lower than that of each of the other two wingers priced above $23.
Pavel Buchnevich, NYR at PIT ($16): Buchnevich has been awful of late, totaling just one goal, four assists and 57.7 fantasy points in his last 15 appearances for an average of only 3.8 per game. Being a healthy scratch during that stretch has failed to motivate the talented Russian, so he's unlikely to provide much value until he gets back in a rhythm offensively.
Jared Spurgeon, MIN vs. VAN ($19): Spurgeon's average ice time of 25:04 per game gives him plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points, and he's been showcasing his ability to jump into the play offensively with two goals and six assists in the past nine games. His average of 7.4 fantasy points per contest is tied with Calgary's Mark Giordano ($20) for most among blueliners in this slate, and there's little reason to expect Spurgeon to slow down in this favorable matchup.
Alexander Edler, VAN at MIN ($17): Edler's Canucks are the underdogs here, but that doesn't preclude the veteran blueliner from being a strong fantasy asset. He's racked up 32 shots and 29 blocks over the past seven games en route to an average of 11.3 fantasy points per contest, and should continue to contribute in those categories while remaining a threat to mark the scoresheet regardless of Vancouver's results.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Justin Faulk, CAR vs. CGY ($16): Faulk has three points in his past three games, but don't let that recent production fool you. While he's had some terrific offensive seasons in the past, Faulk has just four goals and 10 assists in 44 games to go with a minus-10 rating. That rating downside is likely to come into play while offensive production will be hard to come by against Smith.
Mike Green, DET at CHI ($16): Half of Green's 24 points have come on the power play, but Chicago's 10th-ranked, 82.7 percent penalty kill will make delivering in such situations difficult for the veteran blueliner. On the other hand, Green's minus-1 rating could plummet against a Blackhawks offense that's produced 3.9 goals per game in its past eight.