This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Saturday's NHL slate is a sizable one, with 12 games on tap beginning at 1:00 PM Eastern time. While there's no shortage of selection in this slate, certain players stand out from the pack as options to target while others are best avoided. Read on to see who falls into which category.
Carter Hart, PHI at NJ ($27): The Devils were already a poor team with Taylor Hall in the lineup, so it's no surprise that they've been sputtering with last year's MVP sidelined by a lower-body injury. New Jersey's scored just 11 goals over the past five games, losing four. With a 2.46 GAA and .920 save percentage through his first eight NHL appearances, Hart has showcased the skills necessary to capitalize on favorable matchups like this one.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Mikko Koskinen, EDM vs. ARI ($33): While the Coyotes don't pose much of a threat offensively with just 2.56 goals per game, it's tough to justify investing $33 into Koskinen regardless of opponent. The league seems to have figured out the 30-year-old netminder, who came into the season with only four games of NHL experience. He's won just once in his last seven appearances while conceding 23 goals over that stretch.
Mathew Barzal, NYI vs. NYR ($22): Barzal's racked up nine goals and five assists over his past nine games, including a goal and two helpers against these same Rangers on Thursday. The Rangers' blue line corps consists of guys who are either slow or mistake-prone, so the speedy center will have a great opportunity to further build on his recent production in this rematch of intrastate rivals.
CENTER TO AVOID
Eric Staal, MIN vs. DET ($19): Staal's age finally appears to be catching up to him, as the 34-year-old center has produced just one goal in his past 11 games and has only a single multi-point performance over the last 21. A Red Wings team playing its second game in as many nights is a vulnerable opponent, but there are better values to be found among the Wild's ranks than Staal.
Max Pacioretty, VGK at CHI ($19): Pacioretty's season stats are skewed by a slow start, but he's been performing at a much higher level for a while now. Over his past 20 games, the veteran power forward has sustained a point-per-game pace with 10 goals and 10 assists. That recent production makes Pacioretty a strong value play against a Blackhawks team that's surrendering 3.61 goals per game – second-most in the league.
Brandon Pirri, VGK at CHI ($18): Stacking Golden Knights in this favorable matchup is a prudent decision, and Pirri makes for a tremendous complement to Pacioretty with both coming in at under $20. Pirri's done nothing but score when given a chance at the NHL level this season, with seven goals, four assists and a plus-10 rating through nine games. Given his tremendous results thus far, it's worth sticking with Pirri until either he slows down or his price climbs.
WINGS TO AVOID
William Nylander, TOR vs. BOS ($19): Nylander's late start to the season has definitely affected his play, as he's averaging a paltry 2.6 fantasy points per game. Getting back on track won't be easy against a Bruins team that's holding opponents to 2.59 goals per game – second-fewest in the league.
T.J. Oshie, WAS vs. CLS ($21): Oshie's coming off back-to-back two-point efforts, but he had just one point in the previous 11 games. His recent uptick in scoring is likely to come to an end against a Blue Jackets team that will be getting two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky back in net following a one-game, team-imposed suspension.
Darnell Nurse, EDM vs. ARI ($17): Nurse has been incredibly productive since fellow Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom went down with a hand injury, producing three goals and 13 points in 14 subsequent games. That's excellent offensive output for any blueliner, let alone one who can be had for just $17.
Erik Karlsson, SJ vs. OTT ($25): Karlsson's point streak was snapped at 14 games Thursday in Vegas, but he still has 25 points over his past 15 contests. Like Pacioretty, Karlsson got off to a slow start after switching teams in the offseason but is now rolling on all cylinders. In addition to the extra motivation that comes from facing his former team, Karlsson should also benefit from the fact that Ottawa gives up a league-high 3.87 goals per game and is missing starting netminder Craig Anderson (concussion).
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Jamie Oleksiak, PIT at LA ($18): Even on the second night of a back-to-back, the Penguins will be favored to beat a poor Kings team, but don't expect Oleksiak to contribute much to that effort. He's averaging just 3.8 fantasy points, which is the lowest mark among all the blueliners that cost $15 or more.
Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF vs. TB ($17): Ristolainen has a low floor due to his poor own-zone performance, with a minus-9 rating. A Lightning team that's scoring a league-high 4.09 goals per game is likely to exploit Ristolainen's defensive woes.