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Fantasy Basketball Week 18 Schedule Breakdown

After a Week 17 that was scored over two weeks in most fantasy leagues due to the All-Star break, we're back to normal in Week 18. Eighteen of the NBA's 30 teams will play three games, with the other 12 playing four, and there are some interesting scheduling quirks for managers to consider as they put together their lineups. Miami and Phoenix have injuries to critical players heading into Week 18, but the latter has a schedule that could help matters. Let's look ahead to the Week 18 schedule and some essential storylines.

Week 18 Games Played

4 Games: BKN, CHA, CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, IND, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, TOR

3 Games: ATL, BOS, CHI, DEN, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIL, NOR, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, DAC, SAS, UTA, WAS

Week 18 Storylines

- Five teams will be finished with Week 18 by Friday

Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Sacramento, and Washington have two things in common for Week 18: they only play three games, and all will be finished on Friday. None of these teams have great schedules regarding their activity, but Chicago, New Orleans, and Sacramento will play one of their three Week 18 games on Wednesday. That's a six-game night, and while it isn't as light as Monday (four games) or Saturday (five), it may be enough to derive some value from streamable players on those teams.

Ayo Dosunmu, who is already worth rostering due to the season-ending injury suffered by Patrick Williams and Zach LaVine's indefinite absence, will be worth holding onto. New Orleans will be worth monitoring due to the recent health issues of Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Zion Williamson and the potential suspension of Jose Alvarado for his role in Friday's altercation between the Pelicans and Heat. Trey Murphy III, whose play has diminished his fantasy value, could be back on the radar in more leagues, while Herb Jones' rostered percentage should also increase.

- Phoenix won't play its first game until Thursday

The Suns only play three games during Week 18, and they'll occur in four days, beginning against the Rockets on Thursday. Is that enough time to get Bradley Beal back on the court? He has missed the team's first two games out of the All-Star break with a hamstring injury, and that time has given his broken nose some time to heal. Eric Gordon is the player most impacted by Beal's availability, but we also watched Bol Bol explode in Friday's loss to the Rockets. Also of note is Jusuf Nurkic being sidelined with a sprained ankle. He's probable for Sunday's game against the Lakers, so the additional time off should benefit him in Week 18.

- How much time will Ben Simmons miss?

According to Nets interim coach Kevin Ollie, a left knee injury prompted Simmons' premature exit from Saturday's loss to the Timberwolves. With the Nets beginning their four-game Week 18 slate with a Monday/Tuesday back-to-back against the Grizzlies and Magic, it was already safe to assume that Simmons would sit out one of those contests. With the knee injury, will he be available at all? Dennis Schroder and Cameron Johnson are the players who will be impacted the most by Simmons' availability, with the former being more likely to move into the starting lineup.

- Will Tyler Herro (knee) have to miss any action?

Herro hyperextended his left knee during Friday's win over New Orleans, Miami's final game of Week 17. The good news is that he is traveling with the team on its current road trip, which continues on Monday in Sacramento. That's the first game of a back-to-back for the Heat, who visit the Trail Blazers (Tuesday) and Nuggets (Thursday) before hosting the Jazz on Saturday.

How much time, if any, will Herro miss? That's one of the big questions lingering over the team, with the other being the status of Jimmy Butler after his involvement in the fourth-quarter brouhaha in New Orleans (Thomas Bryant could be suspended for leaving the bench area, but he isn't in the rotation). Duncan Robinson, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Caleb Martin, and Nikola Jovic are the players most impacted by the statuses of Herro and Butler, with Martin and Jovic already being starters.

- Timberwolves have to navigate two back-to-backs

Minnesota plays four games during Week 18, but they have two back-to-backs. The good news is that all five games played over those seven days will be at home, beginning with the Spurs on Tuesday. What could also help is that three opponents (San Antonio, Memphis, and Portland) are nowhere near contending for a postseason berth (Sacramento and the Clippers are Minnesota's other two games).

Rudy Gobert was held out of Saturday's win over the Nets with a sprained ankle, and Naz Reid suffered an ankle injury during the second quarter of that game. The good news is that Reid was able to return to action; hopefully, that means he'll be good to go on Tuesday. Reid and Kyle Anderson were the two players whose values were boosted with Gobert sidelined; the latter was his replacement in the starting lineup.

- How will the Hawks handle the center position?

Clint Capela returned from injury on Friday, playing 19 minutes in a loss to the Raptors. However, backup Onyeka Okongwu has been sidelined by a sprained toe and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. His absence and Capela being on a minutes restriction did not boost Bruno Fernando, as Jalen Johnson was shifted to center when CC took his first break on Friday. Someone to watch if Quin Snyder remains willing to go small is De'Andre Hunter. Rostered in less than 40% of Yahoo leagues, Hunter has scored 20 or more in three straight games, and Johnson seeing some time could result in De'Andre taking on a few more minutes. Instead of considering adding Fernando, fantasy managers should roll with Hunter.

Light Game Days

Monday: 4 Games

TOR vs. IND

DET vs. NYK

BKN vs. MEM

MIA vs. SAC

Saturday: 5 Games

ATL vs. BKN

UTA vs. MIA

POR vs. MEM

DEN vs. LAL

HOU vs. PHO

Week 18 Back-to-backs

Sunday (Week 17)-Monday: IND, SAC

Monday-Tuesday: BKN, DET, MIA, NYK

Tuesday-Wednesday: CHI, CLE, DAL, MIN, NOR

Wednesday-Thursday: DEN, LAL

Thursday-Friday: CHA, GSW, MIL, WAS

Friday-Saturday: MEM, POR

Saturday-Sunday: PHO

Sunday-Monday (Week 19): LAC, MIN, OKC