If Jim Harbaugh is reading this and looking for a way to spend his newfound free time Saturday, there are 10 NHL games on starting at 7 p.m. EST or later. Maybe Coach Harbaugh won't want to get involved in any DFS contests, but you do. Here are my players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.
Semyon Varlamov, NYI vs. WAS ($38): In the past, Varlamov has been the clear backup to Ilya Sorokin, and reasonably so. Sure, he earned a reputation as one of the best backup goalies in the NHL, but Sorokin's play relegated him to spot work. This year though, Sorokin has struggled, and the Islanders have gone to a full timeshare with their two goalies for a bit. If that continues, Varlamov will be in goal against his former squad. The Capitals aren't just in the bottom three in goals per game, but also on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jordan Binnington, STL at COL ($28): On the season, Binnington has a 2.58 GAA and .919 save percentage. Over his last five starts, though, he has a 3.42 GAA and .895 save percentage. Sure, that's only five outings out of eight total, but this is a goalie that had a 3.24 GAA and .897 save percentage over the prior two seasons. Thus, I don't trust his good start, while I do have some trust in Colorado's 3.33 goals and 33.7 shots on net per game.
Anze Kopitar, LOS vs. PHI ($23): Kopitar keeps doing it, season in and season out. He has seven goals and seven assists, and has been held without a point only twice this season. Now, the Slovenian's 23.3 shooting percentage will regress, but on the flip side he has only two power-play points having averaged 4:24 per game with the extra man. The Flyers are another team on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back, and Carter Hart is banged up and sick, so third-string goalie Cal Petersen may be in net.
CENTER TO AVOID
Auston Matthews, TOR vs. VAN ($35): Well, at least Matthews and the Maple Leafs are at home for their second game in as many days. Even so, I don't want to spend this much on salary for Matthews in this scenario and in this matchup. Thatcher Demko is off to a great start, as he has an 1.61 GAA and .948 save percentage.
Jaden Schwartz, SEA vs. EDM ($18): Schwartz is rolling, having put up an eight-game point streak. He has seven goals this year in 14 games, and his 17.9 percent shooting, while high, is not indicative of extreme puck luck that is sure to regress. Facing the Oilers is not a reason for worry when it comes to regression. Jack Campbell may be gone, but Stuart Skinner has an .854 save percentage.
James van Riemsdyk, BOS at MON ($18): The Bruins figured they could use a consummate professional veteran, and van Riemsdyk is that. However, he's also been a contributor. JVR has four goals on 30 shots on net and six assists through 13 games. He's also averaged 3:11 per contest on the power play. The Canadiens have a 3.38 GAA, but notably have allowed 34.5 shots on net per contest.
WINGS TO AVOID
Cole Caufield, MON vs. BOS ($24): Caufield has delivered as he usually does when healthy, but so have the Bruins. Boston has an 1.92 GAA, once again lowest in the NHL. The Bruins are also second on the penalty kill, just behind the Stars, and seven of Caufield's 13 points have come on the power play.
Travis Konecny, PHI at LOS ($23): Regression seems to have already come for Konecny, who has one of his nine goals over his last six games. Being on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back and facing the Kings won't make things any easier. Cam Talbot likely can't sustain his production either, but he does have a 2.02 GAA and .930 save percentage.
Quinn Hughes, VAN at TOR ($27): Hughes has been pouring in the points, including 10 on the power play. Given that he's had over 30 points with the extra man in each of his last two seasons, that's not a surprise. The Maple Leafs have a bottom-10 penalty kill, and will have Ilya Samsonov in net. He has a 4.11 GAA and .855 save percentage.
Artem Zub, OTT vs. CGY ($13): Zub returned from injury to score a goal in Ottawa's last game, already his fourth point of the season. What's key is that it was also his first game in the lineup after the injury to Thomas Chabot, an injury that leaves Zub as a first-pairing defenseman. His 21:12 in ice time was, unsurprisingly, a season high. The Flames are on the second leg of a back-to-back, making this a favorable scenario for a defenseman with an outsized role.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. VAN ($19): It's the same scenario for Rielly as for Matthews. He's playing his second game in as many nights. Demko has an 1.61 GAA and .948 save percentage. Rielly is playing more minutes, but fewer on the power play. That hasn't cut into his production, but it is a concern when it comes to tough matchups.
Torey Krug, STL at COL ($16): Krug started the season ice cold, but he has an assist in each of his last two games. He also doesn't have a power-play point yet, even though he's averaged 2:56 per game on the power play. Unfortunately for Krug, the Avalanche have killed 88 percent of the penalties they've faced, and have also held opponents to 28.0 shots on net per contest.