The Wire: Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2, 2008

Here’s a look at the players to target on your league’s waiver wire this week. This list is ordered by the percentage of ESPN leagues in which the player is available; even if you’re not a ESPN user, it’s a decent indication of how likely you are to find the player on waivers in your league. We also note here how strongly we feel about this pickup with three categories: Instant Starter, Grab ‘n’ Stash, or Desperation Pickup.

Greg Lewis, WR, Eagles (0.0% owned, Desperation Pickup) – If you’re looking for a WR3 option for week two and you miss out on the Eddie Royal sweepstakes, take a look at Greg Lewis. Behind DeSean Jackson, Lewis was the most consistent option for McNabb in the passing game, reeling in five receptions for 104 yards. Until Reggie Brown comes back and maybe even when he does, Lewis could see plenty of targets in an offense that seems to be pass first…no matter who’s running the routes.

Matt Cassel, QB, NE (0.2% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – He still hasn’t shown anything to write home about in his time as the quarterback for the Patriots throughout the preseason and now in week one, but he just has too many weapons to put up bad numbers all season long. Pick him up if you’re hurting for a backup quarterback and hope that he can properly utilize Randy Moss (he did already with Moss this past weekend) and Wes Welker at some point in the season.

Dante Rosario, TE, CAR (0.2% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – Seven receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown are numbers you would appreciate coming from any WR/TE on your team. That’s what you’ll find available on your leagues waiver wire with the Panther’s tight end Dante Rosario. He appeared to be a favorite target of Jake Delhomme (at least while Steve Smith was out…and he’s out again this weekend), and although he suffered a foot sprain, it doesn’t appear to be serious and he could be someone that can put up decent numbers from the position all season long.

Anthony Fasano, TE, Dolphins (4.1% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – Fasano, meet Sparano. Miami’s offense with Pennington at the helm involves the tight end position in a big way, and Fasano’s got the size, talent and obvious connection with his QB to take full advantage. He’s an OK start right now, but if you’ve got another decent option at TE, I’d hold off on starting him for another week to see if he continues to see so many looks.

Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints (13.4% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – The Saints plan to incorporate him into the offense no matter how healthy Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush are. As McAllister’s knee continues to improve, Thomas will lose some carries, but he’s an OK bye-week fill-in when needed, and definitely someone to hold onto in case either Bush or McAllister get hurt, in which case he’d be a worthy flex starter every week.

Eddie Royal, WR, Broncos (13.7% owned, Instant Starter) – As pretty as Royal’s 146 yard, 1 TD line is, it was almost a lot prettier – he had a second touchdown voided by a penalty. Brandon Marshall will return in week 2, and that obviously takes away Royal’s status as the go-to guy in the offense, but there’s clearly a connection between Royal and Cutler. If Cutler can continue to play at a high level all season, this could turn out to be a high-flying offense with plenty of points to go around. Grab Royal if you can (which is a big “if” after a performance like that) and start him as a WR3.

Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals (15.0% owned, Desperation Pickup) – The problem with goal-line guys like Hightower is that it’s pretty much impossible to guess when they’ll have a good game. Call it Mike Alstott Syndrome. Edgerrin James is pretty durable for an older RB, but if you’d like to pick up his handcuff and get a last-resort bye-week plugin as part of the deal, one who’s as likely to score a touchdown as he is to put up a goose egg, be my guest. But don’t blame me if his fumblitis gets him demoted.

Justin Gage, WR, Titans (16.4% owned, Desperation Pickup) – With Vince Young injured and apparently just a wee bit depressed, Kerry Collins steps in at QB and immediately puts Gage back on the radar. Ol’ Vodka Collins is far from a sure thing when it comes to winning games for Tennessee, but one thing’s for certain – he’ll throw the ball a lot more than Vince did. It remains to be seen how this will affect Gage’s numbers, but he’s the #1 receiver in Tennessee so he’s worth a look if you need short-term help at WR.

Steve Slaton, RB, Texans (29.0% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – You’re not going to want to start him next week against the Steelers, but Ahman Green’s absurdly predictable ankle injury means he’s likely to get another shot at proving he deserves a big chunk of the carries in Houston. The Texans’ running back situation is a big question mark right now, but my money’s on Slaton to emerge as the starter (with maybe 60% of the carries, the rest split between a likely-to-be-hobbled Green and Chris Taylor) by mid-season.

Waiver wire defense(s) of the week: San Francisco (vs. SEA), Buffalo (vs. JAX), New Orleans (vs. WAS), and maybe even New York Jets (vs. NE)?