Saturday is host to 11 NHL games with two coming in the afternoon, including an NHL Global Series matchup between the Lightning and Sabres. This article aims for the evening slate, which boasts plenty of high-caliber contests. Read on for tips on who to start, and who to avoid, when setting your DFS lineup.
Pavel Francouz, COL vs. CLS ($32): Francouz may be in a bit of a bumpy stretch, but he proved his worth at the NHL level with a few outstanding performances to start the year. A matchup against Columbus should be the remedy for his current woes, as the Blue Jackets rank 30th in the league with 2.38 goals per game.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Martin Jones, SJ vs. NSH ($22): Jones nearly blew a 6-2 lead Thursday against the Wild when he let in three third-period scores. This is becoming a pattern, as the 29-year-old netminder has exceeded a .900 save percentage just once in the last eight games, and that was to record a .905 mark. Nashville's top-ranked scoring (4.0 goals per game) could make quick work out of Jones.
Nathan MacKinnon, COL vs. CLS ($34): The loss of Mikko Rantanen (leg) hasn't affected MacKinnon to the extent most thought, but MacKinnon is also shooting with Alex Ovechkin-like volume, racking up 40 shots over the last five games. That floor is appealing, and while it might not be enough on its own to justify the price tag, he's also failed to notch a point in just two contests this year.
CENTER TO AVOID
Jonathan Toews, CHI at PIT ($22): After registering career highs in goals (35) and points (81) last year, Toews has taken a major step back with just six points this campaign. The steep regression makes sense considering he's below a 50.0 Corsi For percentage for the first time in his career (48.1). The sledding won't get any easier with Pittsburgh ringing up a 2.22 GAA at home.
Matt Duchene, NSH at SJ ($24): The Predators just got stomped 9-4 by the Avalanche, and Duchene, who was the Avs' third overall pick in 2009, should be itching for an opportunity to bounce back. The Sharks offer that opportunity, as they've allowed five goals in four of their last six outings.
Bryan Rust, PIT vs. CHI ($17): Rust's 2019 campaign started a bit late due to a hand injury, but he hasn't missed a beat. He has a point in all five games since returning to action, stacking up three goals and three assists in total. The Blackhawks are on the front end of back-to-back games, so they may be starting Corey Crawford, who has a putrid 3.50 GAA.
WINGS TO AVOID
Cam Atkinson, CLS at COL ($19): Atkinson doesn't have a multi-point game all year, and he's paid for it with just two double-digit fantasy performances this season. He's been bumped to the bottom six now, too, so his chances of breaking the trend diminish even further.
Nino Niederreiter, CAR at OTT ($17): The shine of Niederreiter's second-half tear with the 'Canes has worn off, and he can't seem to find the remnants with just six points so far -- 0.45 points per game less than last year. Anders Nilsson ($23) has allowed exactly two goals in five of his last six starts, so any resurgence may have to wait for another day.
Thomas Chabot, OTT vs. CAR ($19): Chabot busted out with 55 points last year, and while he isn't matching that pace, he still has nine points in 15 games this year and is logging over four power-play minutes per contest. Carolina has the 22nd-ranked penalty kill and has let up four goals in three straight outings.
Cale Makar, COL vs. CLS ($19): Makar paces all rookies with 15 points in 16 games, which is good enough for seventh among all NHL defensemen as well. He doesn't show signs of regression with a 51.6 Corsi For percentage, and the stacked power play he's a part of doesn't hurt. Keep plugging him in at this bargain price.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Mark Giordano, CGY vs. STL ($24): Giordano's 51.0 Corsi For percentage is respectable but it's down 6.1 percent from last year. St. Louis has been stingy against blue lines lately, allowing just five points to defensemen in as many games. Giordano always has a high ceiling given the power play he's on, but the veteran has a tougher test than others in this price range.
Mathew Dumba, MIN at ARI ($18): Dumba has not been able to find his rhythm lately, and his floor can be damaging as he sports a minus-13 rating -- the third-worst mark in the league. Arizona's tight defensively, so the upside here is too flaky to chase.