This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Friday's NHL slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and features seven games. Certain guys stand out as strong value plays in this medium-sized slate, while others are best avoided at their respective prices, so read on to see who falls into which category.
David Rittich, CGY vs. DET ($31): Whichever goalie gets the start in net here between Rittich and Mike Smith is primed to find success, as they'll be backed by a Flames offense that's scoring 3.67 goals per game while steering away pucks from a Red Wings club that comes in at 2.79 goals per game. Rittich took a 4-3 overtime loss to the Sabres on Wednesday, but don't let that poor result distract you from what's been a fantastic season – he's 17-4-4 with a 2.50 GAA and .917 save percentage. Goalies this effective typically can't be had for just $31.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Sergei Bobrovsky, CLS vs. MON ($35): The new calendar year hasn't been kind to Bobrovsky. He was handed a one-game suspension by Columbus last week due to behavior detrimental by the team and has struggled when he plays with 15 goals allowed on 92 shots in four appearances. The disgruntled free agent to be will have a hard time getting back on track against a surging Canadiens team that comes in having won four of its past five games.
Auston Matthews, TOR at FLA ($34): A number of this slate's top centers should benefit from favorable matchups, but Matthews stands head and shoulders above the rest. His season average of 11.6 fantasy points per game is 1.0 greater than that of both the identically priced Sidney Crosby and $33 alternative John Tavares. The first overall selection in the 2016 draft could easily end up being the most productive skater in this entire slate considering he'll face a Panthers team that surrenders the third-most goals in the league at 3.58 per game.
CENTER TO AVOID
Bo Horvat, VAN vs. BUF ($17): Horvat has just three assists without a goal in his past 10 games, and now some questions have emerged about his health after he sustained a charley horse in Wednesday's shootout loss to Edmonton. He's trending in the wrong direction, and a matchup with a Sabres team that's allowing fewer than 3.0 goals per game and just beat the red-hot Flames is unlikely to help Horvat reverse that trend.
Teuvo Teravainen, CAR vs. OTT ($20): Teravainen has been a feast or famine option over the past eight games, producing four multi-point performances over that span while being blanked in the other four. He should come much closer to his high ceiling than his low floor floor against a Senators team that's allowing a league-high 3.83 goals per game, with roles on the top line and No. 1 power-play unit setting Teravainen up for success.
Matthew Tkachuk, CGY vs. DET ($23): In addition to scoring few goals themselves, the Red Wings also allow plenty – 3.25 per game to be exact. Tkachuk should have no trouble exploiting this vulnerable opposition given his robust totals of eight goals and five assists over the past nine games. If you have enough cap space, consider pairing Tkachuk with $32 teammate Johnny Gaudreau on the wing, as these two Flames have both been burning hotly of late.
WINGS TO AVOID
Mike Hoffman, FLA vs. TOR ($21): Hoffman's floor is extremely low due to his defensive struggles – he has a minus-17 rating this season and has scored fewer than zero fantasy points three times in the past eight games. The Maple Leafs are outscoring opponents 3.58 to 2.84 on average, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Hoffman's rating plummet further in this tough matchup.
Jakub Vrana, WAS vs. NYI ($18): Vrana doesn't see enough ice time to make a consistent impact. He's averaging just 14:09 of ice time this season and hasn't topped the 15-minute mark in 12 games while dropping as low as 10:22 in his most recent contest. With the limited playing time capping his opportunities, Vrana's unlikely to find success against an Islanders team that's among the league's stingiest defensively.
Rasmus Dahlin, BUF at VAN ($17): Dahlin's living up to his lofty draft status, as the first overall selection in the 2018 draft has stuffed the stat sheet with a goal, five assists, a plus-4 rating, 16 shots and six blocks over his past five games. His price is likely to climb given Dahlin's tremendous future outlook, so lock him in at $17 while you still can.
Jake Gardiner, TOR at FLA ($15): Gardiner's been in a rut recently, creating a nice buy-low opportunity at $15. After all, the affordable blueliner is in the midst of a solid season with 24 points and a plus-18 rating. He has a good chance to improve those numbers further against a Panthers club that's getting outscored 3.58 to 3.04 on average this season.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Jamie Oleksiak, PIT at ARI ($18): Oleksiak's price inexplicably won't budge from $18, even as his unproductive performances continue to pile up. He's scored more than 3.0 fantasy points just once in the past 15 games, and that wasn't a performance to write home about at just 7.0 fantasy points. As has been the case many times this season, the Penguins have plenty of upside here but Oleksiak doesn't.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI vs. PIT ($16): The rating downside outweighs the scoring upside here with Ekman-Larsson. While he has a robust 105 points over the past three seasons, he's also a minus-69 over that span. A Penguins team that's outscoring opponents 3.52 to 2.93 is likely to limit OEL's offense while making a serious dent in his plus/minus.