This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
As we head into the first (of many) weekends in a row without football, the NHL brings us four games Friday. Now that you have the opportunity to give hockey the attention it always deserved, here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your daily fantasy lineup.
Elvis Merzlikins, CLM vs. DET ($41): This is what you call a slam dunk, to mix sports for a moment. Merzlikins comes in with a 2.30 GAA and .929 save percentage and he's facing a Red Wings' team that not only has the worst offense in the NHL, but is also on the road for the second game of a back-to-back.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jack Campbell, TOR vs. ANA ($28): Honestly, the goalie demarcation is quite clear Friday. There is nobody I can imagine you considering that I need to tell you to avoid. This is the closest thing to skepticism I have, and it's based on Frederik Andersen not being healthy for this game. Campbell was just traded from the Kings to the Leafs, and he brings a .900 save percentage with him. Plus, who knows how he might look in his first action with a new team? This is a great matchup, but I'd be wary of getting cute on this one.
Ryan Strome, NYR vs. BUF ($19): Playing four minutes more per night than his previous peak has helped Strome post career-best numbers of 44 points in 52 games, including 12 on the power play. The Sabres are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and Linus Ullmark is out right now. Though Carter Hutton is likely to be in net, he's struggled with a 3.30 GAA and .891 save percentage.
CENTER TO AVOID
Dylan Larkin, DET at CLM ($19): Despite a lack of talent around him, Larkin has notched 39 points in 54 games. However, his power play output is quite low considering he's only produced two points with the extra man over his last 20 games. As I noted earlier, Elvis Merzlikins has a 2.30 GAA and .929 save percentage, which only makes things more daunting.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, CLM vs. DET ($19): Since returning from injury, Bjorkstrand has registered six points in five games. He also leads the Blue Jackets with 138 shots on goal even though he's only played in 41 contests. The Red Wings have run away with the highest GAA in the NHL. And if that's not enticing enough, they are on the road for the second straight night.
Denis Gurianov, DAL vs. MIN ($13): Gurianov has started 58.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, second highest on the Stars. While he's not a playmaker with only six assists, he does have 14 goals - including three in his last five games. Meanwhile, the Wild maintain a 3.73 road GAA and are also away from home Friday for the second leg of a back-to-back.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jakob Silfverberg, ANA at TOR ($18): If Jack Campbell is in net, I'm not necessarily completely sold on him. That being said, the Ducks are on the road for the second game of a back-to-back, which is my primary concern for Silfverberg. The 29-year-old will be at a disadvantage because of that, and the Swede is also not a weapon on the power play with only six points in that department.
Zach Parise, MIN at DAL ($17): Parise has been fairly hot recently, but on the year he's totalled 33 points in 53 games. He also has a 16.1 shooting percentage, which is the highest of his career and has scored on one third of his shots over his last eight contests. While Ben Bishop has recently produced a couple off nights by his standards, he still has a 2.36 GAA and .926 save percentage across his last 10 games.
Tyson Barrie, TOR vs. ANA ($21): Barrie has finally started to look like the defenseman he was expected to be with 14 points in his last 16 games. The fact he's finally getting power-play time certainly helps, as he's averaged 3:12 per contest with the extra man during that stretch. Anaheim is middling in terms of GAA and the penalty kill, but being on the road for the second night of a back-to-back won't help matters.
Seth Jones, CLM vs. DET ($18): Jones isn't scoring goals like Zach Werenski, but he's racking up assists. The 25-year-old has notched 24 helpers in 54 games to go with 121 shots on net. All in all, the real number I'm focused on here is Detroit's 4.23 GAA. Oh, and the Wings own the league's worst penalty kill too.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Ryan Suter, MIN at DAL ($17): Suter is still getting it done in his mid-30s, in large part because he has 16 of his 37 points on the power play. However, the Stars rank eighth in penalty killing at home. If that's not enough, they also have a 2.19 GAA in Dallas.
Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF at NYR ($17): The arrival of Rasmus Dahlin has changed Ristolainen's role for the Sabres. That's especially been true on the power play, where he only has five points. The Finn isn't likely to take advantage of the Rangers' poor penalty kill. And the Rangers possibly using Igor Shesterkin in net is also a concern.