Last week I advised owners to stay patient with some players that were struggling early on. At that time, San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture had one point in four games. Fans were asking if they should look to trade or drop him (crazy, but true). I advised his owners to stay patient with the 25-year-old forward. In his next four games he went on to record four goals and three assists.
With players of Couture's caliber, you must stay patient. I typically use four weeks as my benchmark in fantasy hockey. If a player is still really struggling after four weeks, I might start considering my options. You can either sell them at their lowest point and just take anything back you can get, or you can drop them outright.
On the other hand, the same goes for a player that's exceeding expectations. If they've been a pleasant surprise for four-plus weeks, I tend to start believing in that player and think he can carry the hot start for at least most of the season. Of course it doesn't always work out, but four weeks usually gives a player about 12-15 games to prove himself.