This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
The month of April kicks off with a jam-packed eight-game slate filled with contenders and pretenders. Here are some of the best options for the daily contest.
David Rittich, CGY @ LA ($28)
Mike Smith has been getting most of the starts recently, but considering he was in goal for Sunday's win over San Jose and the playoffs are looming, it seems probable that Rittich will get the nod on the back-to-back. Good thing too, because the Czech goalie has been outstanding on the road this year, compiling a .933 save percentage and 2.04 GAA. He's a great value against the miserable Kings.
Goalie to Avoid
Frederik Andersen, TOR @ NYI ($33)
Much of the Maple Leafs' struggles down the stretch have originated at the goalie position – Andersen has allowed at least two goals in every game since Feb. 6 and is averaging over four goals allowed per game in his last seven contests. The Islanders make for stiff competition on both ends of the ice and average only 28.7 shots per game, making this a difficult game to expect much from the Dane.
Jonathan Toews, CHI vs. WPG ($26)
Toews has loved playing at home this year to say the least. In his renaissance year, the Blackhawks' captain has recorded 20 goals and 25 assists for 14 more points on home ice than away ice in two fewer games. The Hawks are technically still fighting for a playoff spot and their Monday opponents from Winnipeg have been just average at preventing goals this season, so take a look at Toews.
Center to Avoid
Mark Scheifele, WPG @ CHI ($28)
In what has been a banner year for him, Scheifele has one statistical area that has been less than stellar – plus-minus. His plus-9 rating on the season is his lowest mark since his first real season in 2013-14 and he shows a terrible minus-8 rating in the last 13 games, never posting a positive rating over that span. As mentioned, Chicago has a penchant for scoring at home, making this a scary matchup for the 26-year-old.
Reilly Smith, VGK vs. EDM ($18)
In its second season of existence, the Golden Knights' first line of Smith, William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault has again proven to be one of the most productive in the league, notching 38 goals as a trio this season. Still, Smith and Karlsson in particular are receiving relatively low pricing in daily contests, so they make for very good value plays, especially when facing an anemic defense like Edmonton's.
Brady Tkachuk, OTT vs. TB ($17)
Tkachuk has come on strong at the tail end of his rookie campaign, averaging a point per game and over five shots on goal per game in his last six contests. The fact that the 19-year-old is unafraid to fire the puck on net consistently gives him a nice fantasy floor, as well as a high ceiling when you consider games like his 12-shot effort against Florida on Thursday.
Wings to Avoid
Mitch Marner, TOR @ NYI ($28)
It has undoubtedly been an outstanding campaign for Marner, but he has not maintained his torrid pace towards the end of the season, nor is he scoring goals at a rate you'd expect from someone at this price point – the Canadian forward has scored just one goal in his last 12 games, showing a minus-3 rating during that stretch. The Islanders have stumped Marner in two previous outings this season, so don't reach at this price.
Mike Hoffman, FLA vs. WAS ($20)
Hoffman shows a career-high 35 goals and 69 points on the campaign, which is nice until you consider the fact that he also has a career-worst minus-25 rating. The Capitals, led by the magnificent Alex Ovechkin, are clearly one of the most explosive offenses in the league, but they've also been quite stout on defense, allowing just 2.33 goals per game in March. This could make Hoffman's life quite difficult Monday.
Vince Dunn, STL vs. COL ($18)
Dunn is beginning to show why so many Blues fans were enthusiastic about him at the beginning of last season – the 22-year-old has picked up three goals and three assists, including one of each on the power play, as well as a plus-6 rating in his last eight games. The d-man has upped his shot rate from last season and his increased shooting percentage shows that has been a good strategy for him.
Ryan Pulock, NYI vs. TOR (18)
Pulock shows four points in his last two games, which is all well and good, but it's his fantasy floor statistics that really give him appeal in this slate – the Canadian blueliner is averaging almost three shots on goal per game in his last nine, and his 144 blocked shots on the season ties him for 21st in the league. This is great news when facing a team like Toronto that averages 33.3 shots per game.
Defensemen to Avoid
Dustin Byfuglien, WPG @ CHI ($22)
It's not that Byfuglien is an inherently bad pick, it's just that he's such a wild card for this slate. The Minnesota native returned to action Saturday after missing 19 games with an ankle injury and promptly recorded no points, no shots on goal and a minus-1 rating. Big Buff has played just six games since Dec. 31 and has one point over that span, so this price point makes for a high risk against his former team.
Oscar Klefbom, EDM @ VGK ($19)
Klefbom may be a popular pick Monday considering his four assists in as many games, which is precisely a reason you should stay away from him – if he plays well at a high draft rate, he does little for you in terms of the daily standings and he very well may play poorly. The Swede's minus-5 rating in his last 12 contests gives him a low floor to start from against a dangerous Vegas squad.