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NHL DFS: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Wednesday, January 3

NHL DFS: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Wednesday, January 3

Tuesday was very busy for the NHL. Now, the league is already taking it easy again. There are only two games Wednesday. These are my players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.

GOALIE

Vitek Vanecek, NJD at WAS ($23): Usually, a Devils goalie would not be an obvious choice for the goalie in your lineup, but in this instance, that is the case. It's not that Vanecek is facing his old team. No, it's the fact his old team ranks 31st in goals per game and is on the second leg of a back-to-back. That's what entices me.

GOALIE TO AVOID

John Gibson, ANA vs. TOR ($30): Multiple emergency AHL call-ups are in line to start Wednesday, and only four goalies will be starting, so that tells you what the goaltending situation is like. The Maple Leafs may be on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back, but they are also in the top eight in goals per contest. I wouldn't try to get cute and put Gibson (or Lukas Dostal) in your lineup.

CENTER

Trevor Zegras, ANA vs. TOR ($14): Here is an instance where Toronto being on the second night of a back-to-back does make sense. Due to injuries, and the ineffectiveness of Ilya Samsonov, the Maple Leafs are in line to start Dennis Hildeby, who would be, I guess, their fifth option. The 22-year-old has never stepped on the NHL ice. Zegras has looked good after his injury layoff, tallying three points in four games.

CENTER TO AVOID

Dylan Strome, WAS vs. NJD ($17): Strome may still be on the first power-play unit, but recently he's been moved down to centering the third line for the Capitals. The Devils have been poor in goal, but have only allowed 29.3 shots on net per game. With Washington on the second leg of a back-to-back, I'd avoid Strome.

WING

Frank Vatrano, ANA vs. TOR ($20): After a dry spell, Vatrano has three goals over his last four games, and he's put 12 shots on net in that time, which has helped. As I noted, the Maple Leafs are playing their second game in as many days, and also is expected to have a goalie making his NHL debut in net on the road.

Dawson Mercer, NJD at WAS ($18): Mercer started slow, but his numbers have normalized a bit, and he has four goals and four assists over his last nine games. The Capitals are in line to start Hunter Shepherd. He's looked good so far, but he didn't make his NHL debut until he was 28, and he was down in the AHL until this point for a reason, I imagine.

WINGS TO AVOID

Matthew Knies, TOR at ANA ($13): Toronto has slated Knies on the top line to try and get the rookie going, but to no avail thus far. What stands out to me most, in a negative way, is that he is a wing that has only put 46 shots on net in 33 games. Also, the Maple Leafs have completely taken him off the power play, so there isn't an avenue there for him.

Ondrej Palat, NJD at WAS ($12): The matchups Wednesday are uniformly not imposing. That means looking for other elements to a player's resume when it comes to avoiding guys from a DFS perspective. Palat, well, he's been cold. He only has one point over his last nine games, a goal against the lowly Blue Jackets. You have better options.

DEFENSE

Morgan Rielly, TOR at ANA ($20): Rielly has been producing, with 11 points over his last 13 games. He's also put 35 shots on target in that time. Though he's on the second leg of a back-to-back, Rielly plays a lot of minutes on the power play, which are easier on the legs. Speaking of easy, the Ducks have a 3.39 GAA and have allowed 32.1 shots on net per contest.

Luke Hughes, NJD at WAS ($17): Hughes has a goal in three-straight games. He also has 10 power-play points on the season. Now, the Capitals have an above-average penalty kill, but on the second night of a back-to-back with Shepherd in net, that may not be the case.

DEFENSE TO AVOID

Cam Fowler, ANA vs. TOR ($13): Fowler has 18 points this year, but he started hot. Over his last 17 games he had six points, all assists. Even at home against the Maple Leafs, don't expect too much from the veteran defenseman.

John Marino, NJD at WAS ($10): Marino has 12 points this season, not bad for a defenseman. However, he's gone 10 games in a row without a point. Also, he only has five shots on net in that time. Sure, this is a good matchup, but not so good I'd roster Marino.