Let's look at a group of players with extremely low ownership rates who can help you in very deep mixed leagues or league-only ones. Shallow mixed leagues aren't worth playing in nor worth talking about. Stick to fantasy football. I hear there could be a season or something. Whatever.
- OF Hideki Matsui, OAK (10.8% ESPN; 8% Yahoo!) is hitting .469 (15/32) since the All-Star break with two home runs and 11 RBI. He's the kind of player to own while he's on a hot streak and dump the moment he goes cold.
- OF Dexter Fowler, COL (21.3% ESPN; 18% Yahoo!) is making the most of his recent call-up from AAA. In 10 games, he's hitting .324 with a .439 OBP, three doubles, three triples, three stolen bases and 10 runs scored. With Carlos Gonzalez on the DL, Fowler should get every opportunity to start in center field and prove he's the player the Rockies and fantasy GM's wish he'd become.
- OF Marlon Byrd, CHC (14.0% ESPN; 17% Yahoo!) is back as the Cubs everyday center fielder and proving he can still hit after suffering multiple facial fractures. In 19 games since his return, he's hitting .329 (23/70) with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 10 runs scored.
- 1B/OF Mike Carp, SEA (0.5% ESPN; 1% Yahoo!) has a five-game hitting streak since being recalled from AAA, going 8-for-22 (.364) with two home runs. Expect the Mariners to continue running out their youngsters to see what they're capable of and whether or not they fit in to the team's long-term plans.
- 2B Mark Ellis, COL (6.7% ESPN; 8% Yahoo!) has produced a .325/16/2/11/2 line in 20 games since being traded to the Rockies and should be considered a viable option at second base or middle infielder position.
- RP Edward Mujica, FLA (3.3% ESPN; 7% Yahoo!) has been named closer-in-waiting should the Marlins deal current closer Leo Nunez. If you are desperate for saves, now might be the time to pick up Mujica. You can drop him in all non-holds leagues come early next week if Nunez is still with the team.
- RP Glen Perkins, MIN (2.9% ESPN; 7% Yahoo!) is now the primary setup man for the Twins after Matt Capps recent implosion and Joe Nathan's return to closer. He is a must-own in holds leagues with his 10.01 K/9 ratio.
- 2B/3B/SS/OF Michael Martinez, PHI (18.1% ESPN; 10% Yahoo!) has filled in quite nicely as the Phillies have dealt with injuries to Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco. In July, he's hitting .296 with two home runs, 15 RBI and three stolen bases. Polanco is due back from the DL this weekend, so keep an eye on his playing time.
- 3B/SS/OF Willie Bloomquist, ARI (7.3% ESPN; 11% Yahoo!) should be the primary beneficiary as the result of Stephen Drew's horrific injury. Bloomquist is hitting .327 with two stolen bases in July. As long as he is hitting and stealing bases, he should keep Cody Ransom on the bench.
- 2B Brett Lawrie, TOR (1.7% ESPN; 5% Yahoo!) has returned to the lineup in AAA and hitting .367 with a home run and seven RBI in seven July games. Expect him to be called up soon and inserted into third base as the Blue Jays fade from the playoff picture in the AL East. Lawrie should now be owned in all keeper leagues and dynasty formats.
If your league is still very active heading into August, then the action on the waiver wire should remain fiercely competitive. Dig a little deeper into the statistics (last 7 days, last 15 days, etc.) and keep an eye on injuries, playing time, trades and rookie call-ups to find the players who'll benefit the most from these moves and don't be afraid to anticipate the transactions with a bold move of your own.