This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Friday's NHL slate features just three games, but that doesn't mean there aren't great value plays to be found if you know where to look. Read on to see which players to target and which ones to avoid in the Blue Jackets-Rangers, Stars-Blackhawks and Kings-Ducks matchups.
John Gibson, ANH vs. LA ($32): Goals are expected to be scarce in this battle between the league's two worst offenses, and Gibson's recent success suggests he stands to benefit most from such a scenario. He's closing out what has been a disappointing campaign for the Ducks on a high note, going 7-1-0 in his past eight starts with a total of 20 goals allowed over that stretch.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Corey Crawford, CHI vs. DAL ($33): Crawford is hard to trust as this slate's second-most expensive goalie. His 2.96 GAA and .908 save percentage are nothing to brag about, and he's been no better recently with 11 goals allowed over his past three outings.
Dylan Strome, CHI vs. DAL ($17): Strome has 49 points in 56 games with the Blackhawks, and he's finishing strong with two goals and two assists in his last two games. With starting goalie Ben Bishop (lower body) still on the mend for Dallas, Strome gets a nice opportunity to add to his recent success in Chicago's final home game of the season.
CENTER TO AVOID
Mika Zibanejad, NYR vs. CLS ($24): Zibanejad is rightfully the Rangers' most expensive skater, but that also makes him the team's riskiest option against a superior Blue Jackets club with a lot more to play for. It doesn't help that he's accrued a minus-4 rating without a point over the past two games.
Cam Atkinson, CLS at NYR ($24): Atkinson has revved his engines back up after an ill-timed drought, with three goals and two assists in his past five games, as well as 13 shots in his last three. With every point critical for a Columbus team that's in a neck-and-neck race for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, look for Atkinson to add to his career-high goal (41) and point (69) totals against a Rangers team with a minus-45 goal differential.
Alexander Radulov, DAL at CHI ($28): Assuming the Stars don't rest him with the playoffs around the corner, the red-hot Radulov makes for a terrific play against a Blackhawks team that's surrendering 3.56 goals per game – second-most in the league. The fiery Russian has more points (70) than games played (68) this season, thanks to an active six-game point streak that's seen him compile five goals and five assists. That recent production includes five points (three goals) on the power play, setting Radulov up for success against Chicago's league-worst, 73.1 percent penalty kill.
WINGS TO AVOID
Alex DeBrincat, CHI vs. DAL ($25): DeBrincat has slowed down late in the year, producing just three goals without an assist over his past nine games. Those aren't the numbers you want to see ahead of a matchup with a Stars team that's holding opponents to 2.42 goals per game – second-fewest in the league.
Jamie Benn, DAL at CHI ($22): A lot of teams, especially those in playoff position, are giving some of their regulars time off down the stretch. One such regular is Benn, as the Stars have already announced that he'll sit this one out. Make sure to stay away from him and keep your eyes peeled for other such cases.
Seth Jones, CLS at NYR ($19): Jones has delivered strong all-around play recently, just as you'd expect from a No. 1 defenseman for a team that's trying to claw its way into the postseason. He has four assists, 16 shots and a plus-8 rating over the past six games, laying down a high floor with his two-way game while still delivering offensively.
Drew Doughty, LA at ANH ($17): Doughty is well positioned to capitalize on his strength (power-play production) while minimizing his weakness (rating) in this matchup. The veteran blueliner has scored seven of his eight goals and 24 of his 45 points this season on the man advantage, and should exploit a 79.3 percent Ducks penalty kill that ranks 10th-worst. Meanwhile, Anaheim's league-worst offense (2.36 goals per game) is unlikely to do much damage to Doughty's minus-32 rating. He also carries some nice momentum into this one, with a goal in three of his last five games.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR vs. CLS ($18): Shattenkirk's another one of the pricier Rangers, and he's done little to live up to his $18 valuation ahead of this difficult matchup. Only David Savard (4.5) and Jamie Oleksiak (3.0) average fewer fantasy points than Shattenkirk's 4.6 among defensemen that cost $15 or more.
David Savard, CLS at NYR ($16): Speaking of Savard, it doesn't make much sense to use him despite the favorable matchup. His limited offensive game (20 points this season) suggests it's better to either pay up for Jones or Zach Werenski ($18) or hope to strike gold while saving money with a cheaper alternative.