Saturday's NHL slate is a busy one, with 13 games on tap beginning at 1:00 PM Eastern time. Certain players stand out from the pack even with so many options to choose from, so read on to see which guys to target and which to avoid.
Mike Smith, CGY vs. WPG ($28): Smith's remarkably affordable considering he's been the hottest goaltender in the league. The veteran netminder comes in riding a six-game winning streak, and he's allowed no more than three goals in each of his past 14 appearances. This matchup is also easier than it first seems, as the Jets are a pedestrian 10-10-6 on the road.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at MIN ($40): Vasilevskiy remains incredibly expensive despite his recent struggles, so daily owners should stay away at least until he's showing signs of turning things around. As it is, Vasilevskiy's allowed 19 goals in his past four starts heading into a road tilt with a Minnesota team that's 15-4-4 at home.
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Brayden Schenn, STL vs. ARI ($23): Schenn recently went through a cold stretch, but his two-point effort Thursday in Ottawa raised his season totals to 18 goals and 46 points through 48 games. He also boasts a plus-18 rating and has topped 15.0 fantasy points on nine different occasions, so this is a player capable of carrying teams to victory in the right matchup. You can't ask for a more vulnerable opponent than the Coyotes, who allow the second most goals per game (3.45) while scoring the second fewest (2.30).
CENTER TO AVOID
Brayden Point, TB at MIN ($21): Minnesota's tremendous home record has already been mentioned, and that's far from the only reason to avoid Point here. The young center has benefitted tremendously from home cooking, as he has a mere four goals and nine assists in 22 road games. That level of production makes him a poor play on the road at $21 regardless of opponent.
Rick Nash, NYR at COL ($18): The streaky Nash was cold for a while, but he's heated back up in a big way with four goals and an assist over his past two games. He averages 3.2 shots per game and is only converting at 9.0 percent, so the career 12.1 percent shooter is positioned for further improvement. Don't let fear of facing a hot Avalanche team keep you from capitalizing on Nash's sizzling form.
Ryan Hartman, CHI vs. NYI ($11): Hartman occupies a prime scoring role skating on a line with Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz, plus his playing time has received a drastic increase recently. While Hartman's still averaging only 13:18 of ice time per game for the season, he's skated at least 14:47 in eight of his past nine games while putting up five points in that stretch. He's got the perfect opportunity to build on that momentum, as an Islanders club that's surrendering a league-high 3.66 goals per game is in town.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Blake Wheeler, WPH at CGY ($29): Like many of his teammates, Wheeler's struggled away from the raucous Bell MTS Place. His drop-off in away games has been more pronounced than most, however, as only 21 of Wheeler's 53 points have come on the road even though he's played 26 road games compared to just 20 at home. It doesn't help that he'll be facing the red-hot Smith here.
Mikko Rantanen, COL vs. NYR ($21): Rantanen's having a marvelous season, as he has 44 points, including 17 on the power play. Producing up to his $21 valuation will be tough against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers, however, as New York's penalty kill ranks fifth at 83.7 percent while the veteran goaltender has held opponents to three or fewer goals in all but two of his last 23 appearances.
Morgan Rielly, TOR at OTT ($19): Rielly has developed terrific offensive instincts from the blue line with 31 points through 47 games. His combination of skill and opportunity gives Rielly excellent upside in this matchup, as the struggling Senators are allowing the third most goals per game in the league (3.44) after surrendering 23 goals in the past five games.
Esa Lindell, DAL at BUF ($13): Owners without $24 to spend on John Klingberg against the hapless Sabres should grab his defensive partner for just over half that price. Lindell's average of 5.7 fantasy points per game suggests he's no slouch himself, and he's racked up a plus-14 rating superior to Klingberg's plus-10 mark, along with five power-play points as the point man for Dallas' second unit. Buffalo allows the fourth most goals per game (3.42) while scoring the fewest (2.27), so Lindell carries little risk.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Nick Leddy, NYI at CHI ($19): It's amazing Leddy is still priced at $19, because using him has often been worse than leaving a roster spot entirely blank lately. He's finished with a negative fantasy-point total in seven of his past 10 games, and Leddy's minus-22 rating is likely to continue its precipitous drop against a hot Blackhawks offense that's scored at least four goals in five of the last nine games.
Joakim Ryan, SJ vs. PIT ($16): Ryan is significantly overpriced at $16, as he's averaging only 3.8 fantasy points per contest in a sizable 35-game sample while failing to light the lamp even once. There's little reason to expect improvement against a hot Penguins team that's won five of its past six games.