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Appreciate the under-owned

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Fantasy owners need to learn how to take a glass-half-full approach.

For instance, there are some players who are unowned by the masses despite being able to offer value in several categories.

These players have flaws that make it easy to see why owners would quickly disregard them, but they also have positive qualities that can help any fantasy team.

Instead of focusing on why a player cannot help you, start focusing on why he can.

With that said, there are three outfielders who are severely under-owned despite being in situations conducive to fantasy success, and they all happen to make their living along Interstate 95:

Raul Ibanez, New York Yankees - The former Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder is old, nobody's disputing that; he'll turn 40 on June 2. We also can all agree that Ibanez' 2011 season wasn't very good. Despite hitting 20 home runs, he batted .245 and had a .707 OPS. However, he's off to a nice start in 2012, batting .286 with two long balls, nine RBIs and a surprise two steals through Wednesday. The lefty Ibanez was slated to platoon at DH with Andruw Jones this season, but with Brett Gardner hitting the DL this week, Ibanez and Jones are each going to have their role expanded. In 10 games, Ibanez has three starts in the outfield, so his bat will be in the lineup more days than not. He's owned in just 18 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that number should be much higher considering the lineup and ballpark he plays in. Last year, Ibanez OBP fell to just .289 after he got on base at a .349 clip in 2010. Playing for an organization that preaches patience at the plate should rub off on Ibanez. Ibanez' pitches per plate appearance have already increased to 3.95 in 38 at-bats with the Yankees, after he saw 3.70 last season. He'll provide cheap pop and, unlike 2011, will carry an OPS closer to .800 than .700.

Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox - The 31-year-old Ross has been around. The Red Sox are his sixth organization. He hasn't spent much time as a fantasy viable outfielder, with 2009 (24 HRs, 90 RBIs) and the 2010 playoffs representing his only extended success in the league. However, he now gets to play his home games at Fenway Park after spending most of his career toiling in two of the more pitcher-friendly parks in baseball in San Francisco and Florida. Ross already has two homers and two doubles with eight RBIs and six walks in 40 at- bats with Boston through Wednesday. With the Green Monster in left field, he has a chance to match the 37 doubles he cracked in 2009. His line drive percentage of 33 percent, while unsustainable, is a positive sign that leads us to believe he'll be denting the Monster all season. Ross is even more readily available than Ibanez, as he's owned in just 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Juan Pierre, Philadelphia Phillies - With stolen bases at a premium, it's a shock that Pierre is largely unowned (7 percent), despite starting seven games in left field for Philadelphia. Sure he's coming off a 27-steal season in 2011 with the Chicago White Sox, but he stole 68 bases in 2010 and can still get on base. Plus, the Phillies offense is inept right now, ranking 29th in the MLB with just 37 runs scored. That's an average of 2.85 runs per game, so it's safe to say Philly needs all the offensive help it can get. That means Pierre, who is batting .333 (11-for-33) with three steals, is likely to see his name penciled in the lineup going forward. Pierre seemingly has been around forever, but he is still just 34, so a 40-steal season is not out of the question in 2012.

None of these three players will single-handedly win you your league, but they can each provide solid production without being truly deficient in any one area, and all are a click away for 85 percent of owners in Yahoo! leagues.



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