The Wire: Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5, 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.

Mewelde Moore, RB, Steelers (0.6% owned, Desperation Pickup) – With Willie Parker already out with an injury, the Steelers lost backup Rashard Mendenhall for the season with a fractured shoulder in Monday’s game. Mewelde Moore will most likely become the backup to Parker, but if Fast Willie is to miss another game or two with his knee injury, Moore would get the start. Keep in mind though that running back Carey Davis was splitting carries with Moore after Mendenhall went out with the injury, so it could become a committee situation.

Lance Moore, WR, Saints (1.5% owned, Instant Starter) – I guess he should have made the list last week after seven receptions, but now he’s for real (at least until Marques Colston makes his return.) With seven more receptions, 101 yards and two touchdowns, it appears he’s Brees’ favorite target for the time being…and should be on your roster if possible.

Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals (3.1% owned, Instant Starter) – Since suffering a helmet-to-helmet collision in yesterday’s game, Anquan Boldin seems to be alright and has no spinal cord injury. This seems pretty scary and although I’m no doctor, I can’t imagine the team is going to rush Boldin back into the action if there’s a chance he could suffer further injury. Breaston was the guy who stepped in to fill the void after the injury and should be again be a target of Warner’s if Boldin misses any action.

Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers (5.4% owned, Desperation Pickup) – Battle had only eight catches coming into this weekend’s, where he proceeded to catch seven more for 120 yards. If you’re REALLY desperate for wide receiver help, I guess he could be a plug-n-play…but don’t expect many more of these types of weeks.

Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos (11.2% owned, Desperation Pickup) – With Cutler throwing the ball so much (funny to see a Mike Shanahan offense abandon the run), even the third receiver is getting looks. He won’t put up any spectacular numbers, but he should get a decent amount of balls thrown his way each game with defenses double covering Brandon Marshall.

Kyle Orton, QB, Bears (14.4% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – After throwing zero touchdowns and interceptions in the first two weeks, Orton has now thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions in the past two. What this tells me is that the team and Orton himself are feeling more confident in the passing game, so dont’ be surprised to see Orton put up some decent numbers from here on out (but you gotta take the bad with the good.) Consider him a backup play at this point.

Brady Quinn, QB, Browns (18.6% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – Anderson got the win on Sunday, but it wasn’t pretty. Once the Browns lose another game to a decent team, expect the pressure to build up on coach Romeo Crennel and a quarterback change not too much later. The team has the offensive weapons, so it’s possible Quinn could put up some decent numbers if he has a chance to get a little experience.

Matt Jones, WR, Jaguars (22.5% owned, Desperation Pickup) – He’s been on the list before, but apparently people don’t need a consistent, yet mediocre wide receiver. He’ll get you five receptions and about 60 yards (8.5 points in PPR leagues), plus maybe a touchdown here or there.

Deion Branch, WR, Seahawks (24.2% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – He says he’s coming back in week five and while he probably won’t be a big factor for a few weeks, he could be a guy to help your team come playoff time.

Michael Bush, RB, Raiders (33.7% owned, Instant Starter) – He’s been getting a good portion of the carries in Oakland while Justin Fargas is out and should continue for a while. He’s been huge in the passing game too (seven receptions for 80 yards last week), making him even more valuable to the team.

Robert Meachem, WR, Saints (25.7% owned, Instant Starter) – I guess he’s an instant starter, but consider him a super high risk starter. He’s going to get you 15 points or zero points…nothing in between. However, the Saints seem to have no problem airing it out frequently these days.

Kevin Walter, WR, Texans (30.2% owned, Instant Starter) – I thought Andre Johnson was the man in Houston, but Walter seems to continue getting looks from quarterback Matt Schaub. Apparently he’s a red zone threat as well, as he reeled in two this past weekend (he now has three in three games), along with eight receptions for 76 yards.

Muhsin Muhammad, WR, Panthers (38.4% owned, Instant Starter) – Normally Muhammad is a possession receiver, who will get 5-8 receptions but never hit the 100 yard mark…but for some reason things changed a bit this weekend (147 yards and a TD). He’ll consistently get you some points, especially in PPR leagues, and is worth a bye week or even a WR3 play if you’re looking for help.

Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints (52.2% owned, Instant Starter) – I guess I misspoke earlier this season when I said that this was Reggie Bush’s offense. Apparently McAllister is back in the mix and after rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown in their game, it appears he’ll be getting some decent touches as long as he stays healthy.

Waiver wire defense(s) of the week: Atlanta (@GB), New Orleans (vs MIN), and Carolina (vs KC)

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