Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) also runs on those Fuze devices. only v1's are 'stable'. but the v2's do have support but those look like they lack direct USB support from Rockbox unlike the v1's which appear to work completely according to here...http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaAMS
but i agree with you about the whole price stuff as IPOD type devices (basically anything from Apple) is overpriced especially when your mostly concerned with finding a decent MP3 type player. but Apple has the market locked up because their name is already thoroughly established and your average joe don't know any better so they go with what they know which is usually Apple products etc.
p.s. i have a Sansa e250 myself and it's been great with Rockbox on it. has it since June 2008.