Special to Yahoo Sports
Now that two weeks of games have been played in the NBA, it can be a delicate balance to decide how to evaluate players with a relatively limited sample of games. However, some players have shown discouraging trends that might translate to season-long struggles, and it's worth considering dropping some players in favor of streaming options or those who might have more upside for the remainder of the season.
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors (76% rostered)
Let me preface Wiggins' section by noting that I don't necessarily think Wiggins should be a drop across the board, at least not immediately. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues should still consider holding onto him in case he can turn things around, but those in shallower leagues could potentially find better options on the waiver wire. Regardless, it has been a disappointing start to the year for a player who carried his fair share of preseason buzz.
Wiggins has been inefficient over his first eight appearances of the 2023-24 campaign, shooting just 41.5% from the floor, which is down from his 47.2% mark in his first three full seasons with Golden State. As a result, he's averaging just 10.8 points per game this year. While that mark should improve if he can rediscover his shooting stroke, the 28-year-old's production in secondary categories has also declined, as he's averaging just 3.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game this season. Wiggins has been a liability in most areas and is certainly a sit candidate, but fantasy managers could also consider moving on from him altogether.
Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets (60% rostered)
Despite coming off the bench in his first five appearances of the season, Miller has had plenty of playing time to begin his rookie year and took on a starting role Sunday, with Terry Rozier sidelined due to a groin injury. However, Miller shot 3-for-12 from the floor and finished with seven points, a rebound, an assist and a steal in 36 minutes. While one lackluster game shouldn't make him a drop candidate, his performance was reflective of a relatively disappointing start to the season.
Miller scored in double figures in his five appearances leading up to Sunday's start, but he hasn't displayed much upside. He has topped 20 points just once, and he has topped five rebounds on two occasions while failing to record more than two assists in any appearance. While the rookie has the potential to show improvement as he adjusts to the NBA level, he could also have fewer opportunities to contribute once the Hornets get some of their other players back on the court. The upside might be there for managers who have the patience and depth to wait it out, but there might be more reliable options available outside of deeper formats.
Max Strus, Cleveland Cavaliers (53% rostered)
Strus got off to a hot start this season with two double-doubles in his first three appearances, but he has struggled to generate much upside in other matchups, despite averaging 35.7 minutes per game to begin the year. In his five outings in which he hasn't posted double-doubles, he has averaged 9.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 34.0 minutes per game.
Strus has had some encouraging marks to begin his time in Cleveland, including averaging 13.0 field-goal attempts and 8.7 3-point attempts per game, which would both be the best marks of his career. However, most of his success in those areas came in his double-double performances, and he shot just 23.8% from beyond the arc in his other two outings, with double-digit 3-point attempts. The 27-year-old has had some solid performances to begin his stint with his new team, but he isn't necessarily a must-roster player due to what he has shown in most of his appearances.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (52% rostered)
Barnes is shooting 51.0% from the floor this season, which is on pace for a career-best mark. However, his production in the scoring column has been down due to a decreased shot volume, while his results have also declined in nearly every category. After averaging 15.8 points per game the past three seasons, he's averaging just 13.5 this year. He has also had a concerning decline in rebounds, averaging just 2.3 per game early in the 2023-24 campaign after averaging 5.6 over the past three seasons.
Barnes has been a more reliable threat from beyond the arc early in the 2023-24 campaign, which makes his scoring decline especially discouraging. Additionally, even though the 31-year-old has never been an elite rebounder, he hasn't had more than four over the first six games of the season, which is unfortunate for fantasy managers starting him in a forward slot. Barnes' production hasn't significantly improved with De'Aaron Fox sidelined, and he's a candidate to be let go, given his early-season struggles.
Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (49% rostered)
Sochan displayed promise as a rookie last year but has generally struggled to get things going in the 2023-24 campaign while playing in the shadow of No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama. Sochan is shooting just 39.3% from the floor to begin the year, and he has been held to single-digit scoring totals in four of his seven appearances. The 20-year-old still shows glimpses of production in rebounds, assists and steals, but his output in those areas is generally too inconsistent to make him a reliable option in season-long fantasy leagues.
Sochan shot 45.3% from the floor last season, so better days will likely be ahead in the scoring column. However, his shot volume is down early in the year, which isn't particularly surprising due to the Spurs' new look, but it's still discouraging for fantasy managers who might have invested in the No. 9 overall pick from the 2022 NBA Draft. Sochan still offers some streaming potential due to his production in other categories, but his inconsistency makes him a drop candidate.