Yahoo DFS Hockey: Friday Picks

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha Yodashkin looks at Yahoo's Friday slate, rolling with Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov on the road in Arizona.

Yahoo DFS Hockey: Friday Picks

Sasha Yodashkin looks at Yahoo's Friday slate, rolling with Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov on the road in Arizona.

Friday's NHL slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and features six games. There are some favorable matchups to be exploited in this slate, creating the basis for which players to target and which ones to avoid.


Alex Stalock, MIN at ANH ($27):

Stalock's the assumed starter in this one after Devan Dubnyk got the nod Thursday in Los Angeles. While he missed out on that favorable matchup, the backup will benefit from one as well, facing a Ducks team that ranks third from the bottom with just 2.35 goals per game. He's managed to win two of his first three starts this season despite some poor performances in terms of rate stats, but Stalock has a great opportunity to start trending back toward his career 2.53 GAA and .910 save percentage.


Semyon Varlamov, COL at WPG ($37):

Varlamov's losing streak now sits at four games, and he's allowed nine goals in the past two. Righting the ship will be extremely difficult against a Jets team that boasts a 5-2-1 home record this season after posting a 32-7-2 mark last season.


Mika Zibanejad, NYR at DET ($20):

Concussion issues have prevented him from setting a new career high in points, but Zibanejad produced at a better per-game pace than in his 51-point 2015-16 season with Ottawa during each of his first two campaigns in New York. Healthy and effective again, the 25-year-old Swede has blossomed into a true No. 1 center with 13 points through 15 games heading into this matchup with a Red Wings team that's allowing 3.60 goals per game. Because he's averaging a robust four shots on goal per game, Zibanejad has accomplished this despite a 10.0 shooting percentage that's his worst since 2012-13.


Travis Zajac, NJ at TOR ($17):

Zajac is riding a 29.4 shooting percentage -- almost three times his career 10.8 mark -- en route to five goals and 10 points through 12 games, but he's likely to come crashing back down to earth soon considering he produced only 26 points in 63 games last season. That decline should begin against a Maple Leafs team that's outscoring opponents 3.40 to 2.67 on average this season.


Jaden Schwartz, STL vs. SJ ($16):

Schwartz is off to a slow start, but he's still playing a major role as a winger on both the top line and No. 1 power-play unit. A matchup with a Sharks team that's playing its second road game in as many nights presents a good opportunity for Schwartz to get back on track. Considering he's racked up 55 or more points in each of his past four full seasons, Schwartz picking up the pace is more a matter of "when" than "if".

Dmitrij Jaskin, WAS vs. CLS ($10): Jaskin's a low-risk, high-reward pick at the minimum price, as he could easily back into a point or two given the talent around him. The defensive-minded forward is currently filling the void left by the suspended Tom Wilson, skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Owners looking to spend big at other positions or on some of Jaskin's linemates should consider clearing up the cap space to do so by investing in the affordable winger.


Zach Sanford, STL vs. SJ ($17):

Sanford's price shot up after a hot start, but he's unlikely to live up to his $17 valuation given his lack of ice time. He's averaging a mere 11:41 per game, including just 10:21 in St. Louis' last game.

Patrik Laine, WPG vs. COL ($26): While Laine finally heated up in Finland, he's projected to stay on Winnipeg's third line for a while. Consistently living up to his $26 valuation will be tough in that role, and Varlamov's still among the league's toughest goaltenders despite his recent struggles, with a 2.21 GAA and .934 save percentage.


Neal Pionk, NYR at DET ($17):

Pionk scored what may have been the goal of his life Tuesday, propelling the Rangers to their fourth straight win with an end-to-end rush that broke a 3-3 tie with Montreal late in the third period. That was the latest flash of the 23-year-old blueliner's offensive ability, which has helped Pionk rack up eight points through 13 games and goals in each of the last two. Given that a substantial chunk of his 22:51 ice time average comes on the power play, Pionk's primed for another strong showing against the lowly Red Wings.

Zach Werenski, CLS at WAS ($19): Half of Werenski's 10 points this season have come with the extra man, as the offensive-minded blueliner has capitalized on his role with the top power-play unit. He'll have a great opportunity to add to that success against a Washington penalty kill that's operating at just 74.5 percent -- the lowest mark among any team in this slate.

Matt Niskanen, WAS vs. CLS ($16):
Niskanen brings neither a high floor nor a high ceiling. His rating is minus-3, and he's unlikely to maintain his current 41-point pace after falling short of the 40-point mark in each of the past four seasons. There are plenty of more exciting blue line options in this price range.

Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR at DET ($18): Even in this favorable matchup, there's little reason to choose Shattenkirk over the bevy of cheaper and more productive Rangers defensemen. The supposed offensive specialist who has only three points in 14 games should continue to be ignored until either his production goes up or his price comes down.

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