Martin's injury opens door for Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins could be called upon to provide more offense with Kevin Martin out. Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin injured his wrist doing what he likes best, lofting a 3-pointer from the left side in the first quarter versus the New York Knicks last week. Martin played the rest of the game after being fouled on the shot -- despite suffering a fractured wrist that will cost him six to eight weeks -- finishing with a sweet fantasy line of 37 points, four boards and two steals while going 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. Martin ranks third in the NBA in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers made per game. As the key offensive source on a young team, Martin was enjoying his highest usage rate since 2010, all while posting a career-high PER that has him currently ranked fifth in the advanced metric among NBA shooting guards.

Gone from the Timberwolves' rotation -- and from fantasy rosters -- for up to two months are nearly 30 minutes per game, just over 20 points and nearly three 3-pointers made per night. No single player is going to replace Martin's minutes or production, but several key Wolves should see sizable surges in usage given the void left by team's leading scorer and highest-usage player.

Top pick Andrew Wiggins, veteran guard Mo Williams and versatile veteran Corey Brewer are the clear fantasy basketball beneficiaries in regard to consuming the vacant minutes and shots left by Martin.

The Timberwolves have the league's sixth-highest pace (number of possessions per 48 minutes) at 98.38. This suggests Minnesota likes to run after the rebound quite often, a scheme that plays well for Wiggins' rare athleticism as well as for Brewer's tireless style. Brewer's minutes have jumped from 23.5 over the team's first 10 games to 31.2 over the past two since. A slight jump in usage has led to only a half-point jump in offensive output. If you own Brewer (owned in just 10.3 percent of ESPN leagues), it's for his ridiculous steal rate that sees him swipe more than two per game even in limited minutes.

The impending return of Thaddeus Young seems likely to have more of an effect on Brewer's role than how the team aims to deploy Wiggins, but as we've seen before from Brewer, he's not very usage-dependent as a fantasy producer given that he's mostly a steal specialist and an energy guy for his real and fantasy teams alike. Young stands to share the offensive lead with Wiggins on most nights, and remains a top-50 (if not higher) asset going forward thanks to a rich and diverse stat line.

Veteran guard Mo Williams is another heir to increased usage in the wake of Martin's injury. The journeyman combo guard had already assumed a spike in minutes given Ricky Rubio's injury, but it's been over these past two games that we've seen significant fantasy output. With the team now missing nearly three 3-pointers made per night, Williams' attempts from deep have leapt from 1.8 per night in the six games in place of Rubio to 5.5 attempts per game over the past two games. For a cheap source of 3-pointers, assists and even a healthy rebounding rate, Williams is available in well over 80 percent of ESPN leagues.

The sample size is just eight quarters basketball, but since Martin's injury, Wiggins' usage has spiked to nearly exactly the rate Martin enjoyed as the team's lead gunner. Below you'll find Wiggins' production while playing along Martin in the team's first 10 games.

Andrew Wiggins' production in first 10 games

Andrew Wiggins' advanced production in first 10 games

You'll notice in the tables below efficiency has dipped as volume as increased over the past two games, a trade-off any investor in Wiggins will take given the resulting leaps in counting stats we covet. Even while seeing 37 percent more minutes over the past two games, Wiggins' turnover rate has dipped by more than 13 percent. The greatest evidence we're witnessing is the dramatic spike in shooting. Even as his shooting efficiency has dipped in these post-Martin minutes, a 94 percent spike in shooting volume doesn’t read as an aberration to me, but rather as a clear indicator Flip Saunders and his staff are imploring Wiggins to create offense.

Andrew Wiggins' advanced production in past two games

Andrew Wiggins' advanced production in past two games

Wiggins is bound to endure the slumps and pitfalls of transitioning the game's highest stage, but his fantasy stock is undoubtedly on the rise given the new demands being put on his offensive output.