We're less than 10 games into the fantasy basketball season, but If I'm being honest, I'm concerned about two players in particular. I've defended these guys for a couple of weeks, imploring fantasy managers to stick it out or even trade for these guys, given their history of past performance. However, it's becoming increasingly difficult to remain optimistic or even hopeful that a course correction is within sight.
Here are a couple of players who are bottoming out in fantasy through two weeks:
Pascal Siakam, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
Category rank: 146
Points rank: 82
The good news? The buy-low window is still relatively open after he had 31 points (15-25 FG, 1-4 FT) with 12 rebounds, five assists and three turnovers in Wednesday's win over the Mavericks. He was a third-round pick in most fantasy drafts, so ranking outside the top 150 is a tough pill for us to swallow.
Before Wednesday's performance, Siakam only had two 20-point nights through the season's first seven games. And here's how his current numbers stack up to his career numbers:
Points per game: 15.4 (lowest scoring in his career when averaging 30+ minutes per game)
Rebounds per game: 6.1(lowest in his career when averaging 30+ minutes per game)
Assists per game: 4.7 (lowest in three seasons, but higher than 3.5 career-average)
Field-goal percentage: 41.2% (lowest of career)
Shot attempts per game: 13.9 (lowest since 2018-2019 and well below his 48.9% career mark)
Steals per game: 0.4 (lowest of his career)
Blocks per game: 0.1 (lowest of his career)
Usage rate: 21.2% (lowest since 2018-2019
True-shooting percentage: 51% (lowest of his career)
It's bad. Scottie Barnes and Dennis Schroder have played outstandingly well — far beyond anyone's expectations. Perhaps it's taking Siakam, a former two-time All-NBA player, a little more time to adjust to a new offensive scheme that emphasizes playing through the elbows, moving the ball quickly and fewer isolations.
Per NBA Advanced Stats, Siakam led the Raptors in the frequency of isolations and isolations possessions per game since the 2019-2020 season (after Kawhi Leonard left Toronto). Through seven games, Scottie Barnes is the only Raptors player who generated enough iso possessions to even qualify in the stat.
Siakam hasn't received a contract extension from the Raptors, so he's trending to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-2024 season. That's quite the incentive to play well, considering your next big contract is on the horizon.
That said, he's been a top-50 player in fantasy basketball over the past five years. He is much better than his first seven games indicate, and maybe Wednesday's 31-point explosion will get him out of his funk. I'm betting it will, but I'd still try to pry him away from a frustrated fantasy manager.
Andrew Wiggins, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors
Category rank: 406
Points rank: 200
Wiggins also played on Wednesday night, but where Siakam flashed some semblance of his old self, Wiggins looks closer to a drop in all leagues. Granted, he was going up against the best team in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets, but with Draymond Green out, Wiggins did nothing to instill confidence that he's anywhere near turning his season around. Coming into Thursday, here's Wiggins stats:
Points per game: 10.8 (lowest of his career)
Rebounds per game: 3.4 (lowest of his career)
Assists per game: 0.8 (lowest of his career)
Field-goal percentage: 41.5% (second-lowest of his career)
Shot attempts per game: (lowest of his career)
Free-throw percentage: 53.6% (lowest of his career)
Steals per game: 0.1 (lowest of his career)
Blocks per game: 0.5 (second lowest of his career)
Minutes per game: 25.3 (lowest of his career)
Super ugly. And I'm not buying that Wiggins is hurt because the Warriors have two young and able bodies to replace him in the lineup if he needs rest or a simple reset. He did sustain a rib injury during the 2023 NBA Playoffs that needed rehab in the offseason, but there's been no indication that the injury is currently impacting his game. All we know is that he's been a shell of himself and is doing next to nothing for fantasy managers.
Beyond fantasy, he has the lowest Defensive and Offensive ratings of any Warrior playing over 10 minutes per game. I find this interesting because Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stated that he's not worried about Wiggins' slow start and that his defense typically gets him going. So, if his defense continues to trend down, at what point do we panic?
At this point, if Kerr is cool with Wiggins' play, I'm okay with trusting the process, but the leash is getting shorter by the game.
He seems to be in a mental funk — out of sync, settling for contested mid-range jumpers and not doing the things (blocks and rebounding) we've been accustomed to. If Wiggins doesn't right the ship quickly, it also wouldn't surprise me if he gets a rest day or two to try to get his game back. Until then, I'm not mad at anyone dropping him, though I'd advise sticking it out a bit longer before letting him hit waivers in 12+ team leagues.