This article is part of our In-Season Strategy series.
As we move through Week 5, we'll officially hit the one-month mark of the NBA season. At this point, sample sizes can still be referred to accurately as "small", though by the end of the week, some teams will have completed more than 20 percent of their schedule.
With that in mind, now is the time to examine players who are under-performing and determine the difference between an early season slump and a longer-term trend.
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
While Jokic remains the fulcrum of a Western Conference contender, his numbers are down across the board through his first 12 contests. Part of the issue is Jokic is playing just 30.4 minutes per game – a low number for a superstar – but nearly all of his rate stats are down, including rebound, assist and true shooting percentage, as well as usage rate and PER. He's still giving fantasy owners 16.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.2 steals per night, but that barely places him inside the top 40 in Yahoo leagues – a far cry from where a player who was a near-unanimous top-nine pick was expected to land.
The good news for fantasy owners is Jokic is attempting roughly the same number of shots as last season – and he's taking more threes – but he's getting to the free throw line at a career-low rate. A year ago, Jokic's average shot depth was 10.4 feet from the basket. This season, that number jumps up considerably to