This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
It's a five-game night in the NHL on Friday with three huge favorites and two matchups that project to be closer. The Bruins, Penguins and Avalanche are all receiving huge chalk, and their players are likely to be the most popular targets in contests. Here's a look at recommendations and fades at each position.
All statistics from Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference.
Casey DeSmith, PIT vs. DET ($28): This should prove to be a soft matchup for DeSmith. The Red Wings enter with a 3-6-3 record and just 30 goals for since the holiday break, and Pittsburgh has allowed the second fewest goals per game this season and ranks second in penalty-kill percentage.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Igor Shesterkin, NYR vs. MIN ($36): The Wild score the third most goals per game and the second most per 60 minutes at five-on-five, so with a number of other slam-dunk options, this probably isn't the best spot to spend up for Shesterkin. The Rangers are also playing their second game in consecutive nights, and Shesterkin has a position-high salary.
Erik Haula, BOS vs. ANH ($15): With Arizona allowing the second most goals per game, Haula checks out as a solid value centering Taylor Hall ($17) and David Pastrnak ($29). The center has recorded a respectable 10 points through his past 13 games, too.
CENTER TO AVOID
Dylan Larkin, DET at PIT ($22): As noted, this isn't a favorable matchup for Larkin. Making matters worse, the Penguins are also 10-2-1 out of the holiday break, so it's probably best to look elsewhere in this salary range.
Taylor Hall, BOS at ARI ($17): Pairing Hall with center Erik Haula ($15), makes an affordable mini stack, and the veteran winger also skates with the No. 1 power-play unit to boost his value in the noted plus-matchup. Hall has also been solid out of the break with 13 points through 14 games.
Alex Newhook, COL at CHI ($12): With Nathan MacKinnon ($35) out with a broken nose, Newhook projects to climb into the center spot on the second line. The 21-year-old rookie has the offensive chops to succeed in the role, and the Blackhawks aren't an intimidating opponent with 44 goals against through 13 games since the holiday break.
WINGS TO AVOID
Kirill Kaprizov, MIN at NYR ($31): Sporting a nine-game point streak consisting of seven tallies, 10 helpers and six multi-point showings, Kaprizov is scorching hot. This is still a tough matchup, though. The Rangers rank fourth in goals against per game, fifth in penalty-kill percentage, and they've allowed just 38 goals through 14 games since the holiday break.
Patrick Kane, CHI vs. COL ($25): The veteran has been held off the scoresheet in two consecutive games and has recorded just two assists with a minus-4 rating through three meetings with the Avs so far this season. With Colorado the highest scoring team in the league and a notable favorite, Kane's plus-minus risk is greater, too.
Kris Letang, PIT vs. DET ($27): The Red Wings have surrendered 42 goals through 12 contests out of the holiday break and rank eighth last in goals against per game for the campaign, and Letang enters in high-end form. He's found the scoresheet in 12 of 13 games during the same stretch for four tallies, 14 helpers, 45 shots, 31 blocks and a plus-9 rating.
Charlie McAvoy, BOS at ARI ($22): The hit and miss in McAvoy's fantasy production is built into his salary, and a peek at this game log highlights he's often padded the scoresheet against weak teams this season. The power-play quarterback is also in solid recent form for this favorable matchup with seven points through his past seven games.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Adam Fox, NYR vs. MIN ($25): Considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury, it's probably wise to take a wait-and-see approach with Fox until he proves his health. Additionally, the Rangers are traveling home for the awaiting Wild after losing 5-3 to Columbus on Thursday, so this also isn't the best schedule spot.
Connor Murphy, CHI vs. COL ($17): This probably isn't the best time to tee up Murphy. He's recorded just six points through 40 games this season and relies on shot blocking – 105 for the campaign – to generate nearly all his fantasy value. It doesn't help that Colorado paces the league in goals, so there's added plus-minus risk for Murphy.