This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Several squads in Wednesday's four-game slate are in the heat of the playoff chase, making the fantasy action all the more intriguing. Regardless of their team's place in the standings, here are some players to look at for your virtual lineup.
Braden Holtby, WAS vs. NYR ($21)
Holtby makes his return to the cage following a week-long knee issue and will look to grab his fourth win in five starts. Despite these recent successes and solid metrics on home ice this season (20-6-2 record and .922 save percentage), the 28-year-old is seeing laughably low pricing for this slate. Therefore, he presents an excellent value, especially considering he held the Rangers to two goals in a Dec. 8 win.
Goalie to Avoid
Antti Raanta, ARI @ VGK ($37)
At the other end of the pricing pyramid, we have the most expensive goalie on the board in Raanta. To be fair, the Finn has performed admirably in his first season as a starter, but the matchup he has Wednesday does not justify top billing – Raanta hasn't beaten the Golden Knights in two attempts this season, posting a .894 save percentage and 4.28 GAA over both starts. Vegas, by the way, averages 3.61 goals per home game.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, WAS vs. NYR ($19)
Kuznetsov has been on an absolute heater lately – the young Russian piled up seven points in three games, missed the next three with an upper-body injury, and then promptly returned to post three goals and an assist in his next two contests. Kuznetsov has undeniable chemistry with his countryman and linemate Alex Ovechkin and he'll be facing a team Wednesday that allows 2.89 goals per game to centers this season.
Center to Avoid
Claude Giroux, PHI @ COL ($25)
The case against Giroux really comes down to the home-away splits on both sides of the puck. For starters, the Flyers' captain has not been as effective in away games this season, posting eight fewer points and a minus-4 rating in those situations despite playing in just one more game than at home. Conversely, the Avalanche have enjoyed the comforts of their home ice this season, allowing just 2.47 goals per game there.
Mikko Rantanen, COL vs. PHI ($25)
Although Rantanen represents one of the more expensive options on the board Wednesday, he'll likely be worth the price of admission. Like many of his teammates, the young Finn plays very well at home, to the tune of an eye-popping 52 points in 37 games. This matchup could be especially advantageous for him as well considering the Flyers are allowing 0.88 goals and 1.72 points per game to opposing right wings.
Chris Kreider, NYR @ WAS ($18)
Kreider has been dominating the statsheets lately, especially so with the man advantage – in his last six contests, the Massachusetts native has racked up ten points, half of which of come on the power play. Washington isn't an especially strong penalty killing team, as its 80.1 success rate on the season will attest, so Kreider should provide you some really excellent value at this manageable price.
Wings to Avoid
Evgenii Dadonov, FLA @ TOR ($23)
The Maple Leafs have been a serious foil to Dadonov this season, as the former KHL standout has not been able to record a point and holds a minus-2 rating against them despite encountering them on three separate occasions. Additionally, the 29-year-old has four points in his last six games, but they've really only come in two contests – the other four saw him record just a minus-4 rating, speaking to his inconsistency across contests.
James van Riemsdyk, TOR vs. FLA ($20)
Van Riemsdyk has been great on the offensive end lately, especially when it comes to the man advantage, but that won't help him much against a Florida defensive front that has really stepped it up recently – the Panthers have allowed 2.07 goals per game and killed 91.2 percent of their penalties in March, good for best and second best in the league, respectively. JVR could struggle to produce if he can't make it happen on the power play.
Erik Johnson, COL vs. PHI ($17)
Johnson has looked quite spry on both ends of the ice since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss 13 games, racking up two goals, 13 shots on goal, and 16 blocked shots in his last four contests. Wednesday seems like a good time for him to provide nice overall production, as the team from Philly is allowing 3.00 points per game to defensemen and taking 34.2 shots per game in the last month.
Shea Theodore, VGK vs. ARI ($17)
By notching five points in the last four games, Theodore has clearly established himself as a hot offensive commodity from the blue line, but what's perhaps making him more valuable is his enthusiasm in the offensive zone – over the last eight contests, the 22-year-old has taken 31 shots on goal, taking four shots or more in four separate games over that stretch. He'll look to add to his totals against a Coyotes team that he already has an assist against.
Defensemen to Avoid
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. FLA ($20)
While Rielly's excellent assist totals are something to behold, it's still a bit concerning that he can't light the lamp himself considering the cash you'd be shelling out to get him – the 24-year-old has just one goal in the last 25 games and just six on the entire season. His attaining meaningful production is a risky proposition considering he hasn't recorded a point in three games against the Panthers this season and they are playing great hockey right now.
Mike Matheson, FLA @ TOR ($18)
Frankly, considering his output recently and over the course of the campaign, it's a little confusing to see Matheson priced at this level. The Quebec native is riding a six-game point drought that has seen him take one shot on goal in three separate games and that sort of offensive inconsistency won't help his value, especially not when he goes against a Toronto team that is allowing just 1.82 points per game to blueliners this season.