Hello everyone! Here's a weird sentence: it's a good week to need assists off the waiver wire. Strange times.

As we careen towards the end of the season, I'll repeat a few of my classic talking points. Embrace specialists, you should know the specific categories your team needs and doesn't need at this point. Know your league rules, and use them to maximize games played. In roto leagues, make sure you're on track to go a few games over the season max, as there will be a lot of absences in Week 25. And never let yourself get too attached to a player – the Endowment Effect is the most pernicious force in Fantasy sports. 

There are a bunch of repeat names headlining the pickup options this week, but the NBA's silly season has brought forward plenty of new names below that. There are weeks where Scotty Pippen Jr., the eighth name listed below, would lead off this column. A lot of great pickups are widely available. 

Schedule-wise, Week 24 is one of the busiest of the season. Almost everyone plays four games; only the Bulls, Nuggets, Spurs, and Jazz play three. Lineups will be mostly full almost every day. With so many games, streamers will be constantly available, though managers will need to be aggressive to build up a meaningful games advantage. The week starts balanced, with 6-to-9 games Monday through Wednesday, before becoming dramatically lopsided. Friday and Sunday are massive, with 12 and 13 games, respectively, meaning lineups will likely fill before fitting in any waiver pickups. That means managers should focus on preemptively adding streamers for Thursday (five games) and Saturday (four games).

As always, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team. 

Adds for all leagues 

Herbert Jones, Pelicans (60% rostered)

Jones is an all-leagues auto-start. He's a top-85 player on the season (top-60 in 8-cat), and he's been a top-50 player since the All-Star break. He's up to 35.5 minutes per game since Brandon Ingram (knee) got hurt. As if to emphasize the point, Jones logged four steals and three blocks Thursday. If only every add/drop decision was this easy.

Vasilije Micic, Hornets (43% rostered)

The news we've long expected finally came – LaMelo Ball (ankle) will not return this season. Micic should have a clear runway to finish the season as the starting point guard. He's averaging 14-3-6 with 1.2 threes and 0.9 steals since taking over that job at the beginning of March. Don't be discouraged by his two low-scoring games last week, Micic should be rostered everywhere. 

Tre Mann, Hornets (53% rostered)

In Mann's first 12 starts, he averaged 12-5-4 while shooting 45% from the field. Over the past six games, those numbers have improved to 14-5-7 and 47%. He's attempting more shots, making more shots, and showing a meaningful jump as a passer. So, the key question is: is it sustainable? I don't know. Mann hasn't had many opportunities like this in his three-year career, so some improvement is plausible. And the increases may be due to some specific coaching decisions. There's reason for optimism, though the possibility of a small-sample-size hot streak cannot be discounted, either. Whether or not this is sustainable, it's worth adding Mann while we find out.

Gary Trent Jr., Raptors (64% rostered)

Trent should be rostered everywhere by now. This is pretty straightforward. He's averaging 23.0 points and 3.1 threes per game over his last eight. He has at least one three in every game since the All-Star Break, and at least 15 points in 10 straight. A no-brainer all-leagues auto-start.

Duop Reath, Trail Blazers (12% rostered)

We've talked about Reath's potential stretch run value several times in this column, and it's happening exactly as we anticipated: every Trail Blazer with at least five years in the NBA, most relevantly Deandre Ayton, has found themselves mysteriously unable to participate in March and April basketball games. In Ayton's absence, Reath is starting and putting up big numbers. Across nine starts since the All-Star break, Reath is up to 16-5-2 with 2.0 threes, 1.1 blocks and 0.9 steals. Ayton might appear in another couple games before the end of the season, but he's likely to be mostly sidelined, allowing Reath to continue this strong run.

Dalano Banton, Trail Blazers (48% rostered)

I remain skeptical of Banton's ability to keep this production going, but the sample size of Fantasy viability is getting pretty large. Taking advantage of the extra minutes made available by the Trail Blazers' tanking, Banton is up to 18-5-4 with 2.4 threes over the month of March.

Miles McBride, Knicks (30% rostered)

McBride is back to playing monstrous minutes now that OG Anunoby (elbow) is back on the sidelines. McBride is averaging 44.4 per game over the last five – for context, no one has averaged 39 minutes in over a decade. He's converted those minutes to 22-3-4 with 4.6 threes. He'd be droppable if the Knicks get healthier, but for now, he's an excellent pickup.

Scotty Pippen Jr., Grizzlies (10% rostered)

Between injuries and his two-way contract, Pippen has only played in nine games in the last 60 days. But his production in those appearances has been really good. He's averaged 13-3-5 with 2.0 threes, 1.8 steals (!), and 0.7 blocks. Assists and defense with respectable numbers everywhere else – and on just 26.3 minutes per game! When he plays, he usually starts, and he's currently healthy.

Note: there's a pretty massive tier drop between the adds above and below this note. Everyone above is exciting. They are either must-adds or close to that. The players below are solid, but the drop-off should be acknowledged.

Payton Pritchard (41% rostered) and Sam Hauser (22% rostered), Celtics

The Celtics have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the East. Their magic number to clinch the overall No. 1 seed is down to four – that means they haven't mathematically clinched it yet, but they have effectively locked down home court throughout the playoffs. They've already started resting starters, and that practice will likely get more aggressive through these final nine games. That's opening up more minutes for Pritchard and Hauser, the clear seventh and eighth men in Boston's rotation. Though both struggled on Thursday, a game that only Al Horford missed, they should have plenty of good games ahead. As a general rule of thumb, start this pair any time two of Boston's top six are out. 

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Warriors (37% rostered)

The Warriors have moved on from Kevon Looney, banishing him to infrequent low-minute appearances off the bench. They've settled on Jackson-Davis, a rookie second-round pick out of Indiana, as their primary center when Draymond Green sits or for use in two-big lineups. His roster rate jumped this week after a fantastic game on Wednesday, but his minutes were juiced in that one after Green got himself ejected early. More important is Jackson-Davis' steady production before Wednesday, when he averaged 11-7-2 with 1.9 blocks over eight games. Those blocks are highly valuable and incredibly rare for a waiver pickup.

Mitchell Robinson, Knicks (29% rostered)

Robinson only played 12 minutes in his first game back after missing nearly four months with an ankle injury, but he still managed two blocks. As his minutes ramp up, he's likely to be a solid source of rebounds and defense. The downside, which explains why a top-100 draft pick is listed so far down in this column, is that New York will probably be cautious as he builds up his stamina. The Knicks are likely to have a first-round bye in the playoffs, and the goal is to have Robinson healthy for the postseason. 

Kyle Anderson, Timberwolves (37% rostered)

No real change in the Anderson situation from last week. The 9-5-5 he's averaging since Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) went out is fine but not great. Similarly, he helps in defensive stats, but he's no star there, either. But if you need assists, his five per game from a big man is fantastic.

Other recommendations: Corey Kispert, Wizards (36% rostered); Gregory Jackson, Grizzlies (63% rostered); Rui Hachimura, Lakers (41% rostered); James Wiseman, Pistons (25% rostered); Marvin Bagley III, Wizards (58% rostered); Marcus Sasser, Pistons (11% rostered); Jock Landale, Rockets (17% rostered); Ochai Agbaji, Raptors (10% rostered); Jonathan Isaac, Magic (17% rostered); Kris Murray, Trail Blazers (20% rostered) 

Great options with questionable timing 

Richaun Holmes, Wizards (16% rostered)

Holmes (toe) will miss Friday's game, but if he can quickly return to his new starting role – two important "if"s – he'll be an excellent pickup. In his four starts before getting hurt, he averaged 12-14-1 with 1.3 blocks in 28.5 minutes per game. Too bad we don't know when he'll return, and even when he does return, there's no guarantee he will reclaim his starting spot. 

Vit Krejci, Hawks (7% rostered)

When Jalen Johnson (ankle) reinjured his right ankle, just three games and one week after returning from a right ankle injury, he said he thought the injury was minor. He's already up to five missed games. The team said we should expect another update soon, which hopefully gives us actionable information. I have no interest in Krejci once Johnson comes back, which, for all we know could be their next game. But as long as he's sidelined, there's no reason Krejci can't maintain the 34.0 minutes he's averaged over the last five, and the 9-4-3 with 1.8 threes that's come with the expanded workload. 

Deep league special 

Javon Freeman-Liberty (0% rostered)

Speaking of people I knew existed a month ago, Freeman-Liberty is up to 26.7 minutes per game since Jontay Porter's self-inflicted exile personal absence began. The undrafted rookie out of DePaul had logged four career minutes before March, but was already seeing his minutes increase before Porter became the subject of a gambling investigation. The Raptors' depth has been decimated by injuries, so Freeman-Liberty's larger workload could easily continue through the final two weeks. Over his last four games, he's up to 11-4-3 with 0.8 steals. His FG% is low for a big man, just 43% for his career and 47% over the last four games, but he's balancing that out with 90% FT shooting.

Other recommendations: Keon Ellis, Kings (13% rostered)