Was Mike Cameron worth taking a shot on in N.L.-only leagues last week?
Yes, as long as you put in a very low bid and understand that it is a risk that probably won't work out.
Cameron fits the profile of a player you should bid on if you have a dead spot. He's clearly not an up-and-comer, but he has an opportunity. The odds of him bouncing back in the middle of his Age 38 season and suddenly discovering a fountain of youth aren't good, but much stranger things have happened in baseball. Maybe the trade wakes him up, even if it's only for a month.
The main reason you should have bid on Cameron is because everyday players aren't sitting in one-league free agent pools in mid-July. The reason you shouldn't have bid on Cameron is that if you're in a keeper league with a dump culture, you had better have dumped into an offense good enough that you don't need Cameron to win.
I talk about this phenomenon a lot, but if you're in a dump league, your goal is to dump into a quality player at every position on your offense. Maybe you're stuck with a second-tier catcher or middle infielder, or perhaps (like me) you have a $1 outfielder on your squad because you're right up against the cap. However, you had better not have too many players like this or you're surely going to lose.
(Or you're Sweeneying...but that's another story entirely).
In May, before the dumping is in full swing, fliers on guys like Cameron are fine...and maybe you'll fall into Laynce Nix. In July, you had better have cashed in on some of your league's second division teams that cashed in. If you haven't and you're still scouring the FA pool for guys like Cameron, you're probably not going to win.