Panic season is upon us. For many managers, a rough start to the season means it could be time to start re-evaluating your roster. However, keeping things in perspective, we must remember that the season is only 14 days old. Following up on my Early Season Breakouts piece last week, it seems fitting to put together a list of players who have underperformed. Is this small sample size an indication of what's to come or merely a slow start? Let's dive in.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves (ADP: 10 Current Rank: 48)
While it has been a slow start for Towns, this could also be a case of managers reaching a little too high to secure him in drafts. The addition of Rudy Gobert has had an impact, limiting opportunities to play closer to the basket, reducing Towns' rebound and block rate but increasing his perimeter scoring. That's holding true, with Towns averaging 8.0 rebounds and 0.4 blocks. That said, he has been a top-20 player over the past week -- a sign that he is perhaps adjusting to his new role.
Is Towns capable of continuing upward, or will he plateau? I'm confident he will be better than he was to open the season. Shifting from center to power forward is a big deal and may not come naturally. He is playing alongside a player with zero range, meaning Towns' path to the basket is obstructed. We know Towns can be an elite perimeter scorer, but taking away the threat of him driving makes him easier to defend. While it is unlikely he ends up as a first-round talent, he could settle in the mid-to-late second round.
Jalen Green, Rockets (ADP: 62 Current Rank: 185)
After a substantial finish to his rookie season, Green came into the season with hype as a breakout candidate. He's on pace for career highs in points (19 PPG), rebounds (4.4 RPG), threes (2.5 3PM) and combined steals-plus-blocks (1.3).
But he can't get his shot to fall. He's at 36 percent from the floor from the season and 26 percent in the past four games. While efficiency doesn't project as a strength, he'll be better than this. If he can at least get back to where he was last season (43 percent), that will raise his scoring average, too. With his 18.8 shots per game, a seven-percent increase in field goal percentage would bring his scoring closer to 21 or 22 PPG. I'm not sure it gets to the point where Green is outperforming his ADP, but the top 80 is not out of the question.
Klay Thompson, Warriors (ADP: 75 Current Rank: 258)
Having battled multiple injuries over the past two years, Thompson was an intriguing fantasy target this season. While he is not the player he once was, he remains an elite three-point shooter who can get hot at any moment. His minutes have been up and down -- partially reduced by conditioning issues -- and that's reflected in his production. He has scored in double-digits in five of his seven games but has shot poorly, yet to eclipse the 50 percent barrier in a single game.
With the progression of Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, Thompson doesn't have to score as much as in years past. He's only averaging 12.3 points per game. That will improve, but he may not get to 20 points per game. His inability to contribute outside of scoring and threes makes his fantasy value volatile. His days of being a top-50 player are behind him, although he should do enough to flirt with top-90 value come March.
Franz Wagner, Magic (ADP: 77 Current Rank: 181)
Wagner came into the season garnering significant attention in the middle rounds of drafts. Injuries to both Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs were icing on the cake when projecting his early-season output. After a surprisingly strong rookie season in which he ended just outside the top 100, the natural progression of such a young and talented player indicated his floor could be around the top 80.
Despite a strong preseason showing, he has yet to live up to the hype. Unlike Green, Wagner's numbers are down slightly compared to his rookie season, outside of his assists which have gone from 2.9 to 4.4 per game. The primary issue is that his efficiency from the field and the charity stripe is not where it needs to be. If he can get those back to being on par with what he did last season, his ranking should increase significantly.