Sitting at Patriots training camp this past Sunday I got the excitement for the start of the NFL season that I've been patiently waiting for.  Even more important, I was reminded that the start of the fantasy football season was even closer. 
    While we can all (well, almost all) enjoy muddy, rainy, mud-bowl games in September, the games that make Thanksgiving a little less blah, and hot totties while watching the games in January - some of us enjoy flipping on NFL Redzone and indulging in more football stats and highlights than the brain can possibly handle every Sunday.  12:45pm on a football-season Sunday is like Easter when you are five, or St. Patty's day when you are 22 for us fantasy freaks. 
    I find it funny that even the people that mock me about being a fantasy sports player get sucked in every once in a while.  My wife tells me not to draft Mike Vick because he will let me down again and she doesn't like the way he treats animals.  My father in law asks me how fantasy sports works twice a year, and my best friend tells me every year that when he gets his own computer he'll own my league with some beginners luck.  Even my five year old nephew got his very own Brady jersey and has already asked me to watch pre-season football with him.
    Thing is, it's fun for all of us to pay attention to football, whether all of the time of some of the time, to the offseason dramas of Ochocinco, Randy Moss, and Brandon Marshall.  It's fun for some of us to vicariously follow another persons fantasy team and root for guys like Peyton Hillis and A.J. Green, even though we don't really have our own.  And it's fun for some - like the two crazy ladies in the front row of training camp last Sunday yelling for Gronk to "show us his ass just once" for four hours.
    Either way you slice it, this time of year brings most of us all at least some excitement. 

    With that being said, it's time to start writing some fantasy advice for those who really, deep down inside, give a shit.  I've picked out a few guys who could surprise for your team with a late round pick or two.  Cheers to a healthy, happy fantasy football season.

C.J. Spiller BUF - The bite-sized Buffalo Bill carried the ball 85 times in the last six games with the Bills last year and scored three times.  He could be in for more work going forward, and with the Bills revamped and upgraded D, they will certainly want to run more.  Think Darren Sproles lite.  600 yards rushing  and 400 receiving.

Colby Fleener IND - This rookie TE has already worked at length with Luck in college, and with Tamme and Clark gone, the position is all his.  With such a bad offense in Indy, Fleener will look to be Luck's release valve over the middle when times get rough.  I expect to see close to 700 yards and a fistful of TD's when all of the big name tight ends are long gone. 

Shane Vereen NE - Vereen was the number 5 running back on the Pats depth chart a year ago, and this year he looks to be the #2.  With lawfirm gone, Faulk retired, and an already-ousted Addai, Vereen has the smooth-running ability, and the vision to find holes in the line.  The former second round pick out of Cal should be good for a season close to that of Ridley a year ago with more receptions out of the backfield.  400 yards rushing, 250 receiving with a couple of big time touchdowns.

James Jones GB - Jones has quietly put up some sneaky WR4 numbers over the past couple of seasons, and with Driver another year older and Rodgers throwing to him, expect those numbers to climb a bit.  The Packers are thin at RB and Finley can't stay healthy.  Take a very late round gamble on 50-750-6 with Dub J.

Jay Cutler CHI -   Cutler?  You ask.  Yes.  Cutler is slipping deep into drafts, going after the likes of Schaub, Ryan, Eli, and Roethlisberger - but could post better numbers than all of them.  There are some fresh faces on the O-Line, and the additions of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will certainly help his cause.  Take Cutler as your second QB and feel confident if your starter goes down.

Santana Moss Another seasoned veteran on this list.  I took Moss with my 16th round pick in both leagues this summer.  And he will bring dividends for that price as a backup/bye week player.  Moss is just one year removed from a 93-1115-6 season, and the addition of Garcon will help take some of the pressure off this year.  Oh yeah, and this RG3 guy is light years better than Rex Grossman.  Pay the absurdly low price for Moss and be happy.

Some other names to look for late:  Titus Young, WR, DET... Isiah Pead, RB, StL... Sidney Rice, WR, SEA... Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT... Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL... Michael Floyd, WR, ARZ... Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN... Alex Smith, QB, SF... Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN... Jacob Tamme, TE, DEN... Laurent Robinson, WR, JAX... Andrew Luck, QB, IND

Sometimes we win, other times we lose.  That's the fun thing about fantasy sports (well not the losing part).  In one of my keeper leagues I am getting demolished thanks in part to my bonehead play of moving David Wright for Michael Young and Adam Wainwright.  In the other keeper league (roto), I am battling for the top three spots with some good competition, thanks in part to an outfield comprised of Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, CarGo, and Rios.  It's just about time to start thinking about keepers and young studs who will be able to help out more next season.  Take a long hard look at some of these hitters if they are available on your waiver wire.

Catcher - This is the year of the power hitting catcher.  From Salty in Bos., Pierzynski in CWS, to the usual suspects.  There are still some great options available and a couple that may be worth hanging onto.

Wilin Rosario - This guy is just 23 years old and is producing out of the catcher position on a struggling Rockies team.  He has 17 bombs already to go with 3 sb.  Look for him to put up 25-30 HR next season in a full time gig.  He should be available surprisingly in 3/4 of leagues.

Yasmani Grandal - Another 23 year old stud catcher in the making.  He came over in the huge haul that SD got for Latos last year.  He is currently on the DL but has plenty of power and will shape up to be a top 5 catcher in the years to come.  Grab him and stash him.

First Base - A ton of borderline first basemen have stepped up and filled in for injuries this season.  Freeman and Goldschmidt have proven to be everything they were hyped to be.  You probably can't scoop a keeper-worthy 1b right now but take a look, you might find something worthwhile.

Anthony Rizzo - He has been traded twice already and seems to have found his home in Chicago with the Cubbies.  Anyone who has been traded for Adrian Gonzalez, then Cashner is worth looking into.  RIzzo has ridiculous patience at the plate for a 22 year old, and is only owned in ~50% of leagues.  Run and grab him now.

Second Base - I knew second was deep heading into the start of the season, and there are currently 7 2B inside the top 100 and that leaves out Pedroia, Zobrist, and Uggla.  There are a few guys who might be worth stashing for a late round keeper next year.

Jose Altuve - The 5'5" hype in Houston is available in 30% of leagues right now, and could pay big dividens moving forward.  He has a great eye, and a quick bat.  Don't forget the speed.  He has 19 sb already to go with a .300 average.

Alexi Amarista - This is the guy who came over to SD for Ernesto Frieri in May.  Since then he has shown decent pop (5 HR)  and the ability to steal some bags (4 sb).  He should continue to develop and be a staple in the SD middle infield for some time.  The "little ninja" is just 23 and will get better with time.

Shortstop - This is the position to grab a young minor leaguer if you are struggling in your league.  There are a few SS on the top of the prospect list for late 2012/2013.  I will just list a few of them.. as most if not all of these young players have not seen a major league at bat.

Jurickson Profrar TEX - Ranked as the #4 prospect in scoutingbook.com can switch hit and is willing to play most any position on the field.  Keep him on your watch list.

Manny Machado BAL
- Patient, free swinger shows tons of potential for 2013/2014.  He has struggled with injuries, but looks to have a killer power/speed combo in the minors.

Billy Hamilton CINSwitch hitting, speed demon is how we can describe this guy.  Stole 103 bases for A ball in 2011 and has already stolen 104 this season.  Ridiculous.  Could be up this year.

Third Base - With 13 top 100 players at 3b this year, the competition is thick, and keepers are probably already set.  With Wright, Miggy etc. you might not want to find a young stud and keep him. 

WIll Middlebrooks - Now that Boston traded Youk away, Middlebrooks will have the hot corner all to himself.  He is no wonder in the field, but has major power potential and won't hurt you in average.  He should put up 25-30 HR next season as he continues to develop at the plate with a .300 average.

Miguel Sano MIN - He is owned in 0% of leagues, but the Twins made it clear that he was their third baseman of the future.  He K's a ton, but also gets on base 36% of the time and has lots of power.  He will be eligible at ss/3b when he arrives in 2013/2014.

Outfield - There are always plenty of options here, as the outfield produces a ton of keeper players year in and year out.  You have already missed the boat on Mike Trout, but there should be a few guys on his heels next season.

Lorenzo Cain - One of many KC young guns should follow suit with Butler, Moustakas, Hosmer (sometimes Gordon.)  He has already been called up and will get plenty of playing time moving forward.  He has shown the capability to put up a .280-80-20-80-20 type of line.  Not bad for a late round keeper in the OF.

Will Myers KC - Myers is a former minor league catcher who has been moved to the OF.  The Royals plan on bringing him up late this year, and might show some keeper value.  He is just 21 and comes wrapped in a 6'3" 200lb frame and is a "dirt dog" in every sense of the word.  Look for patience at the plate coupled with lots of power potential.

Brett Gardener Gardener's season has been a disaster this year.  Injuries have kept him out almost the entire season, and probably wont be back this year.  When he is good and healthy next season, he could pay big dividends for those who stashed him this year.  He is capable of a .275 average with 50 or so SB.  And he won't kill you in the power/run producing departments.

Starling Marte There was lots of hype when this guy got called up for PIT and hit a HR in his first major league AB.  He is still owned in under 25% of leagues and could put up eerily similar numbers to Lorenzo Cain.  For those that want a cheap, young OF candidate with lots of potential, go grab this guy and see what he does the rest of the way.

Yonder Alonso - The centerpiece in the Latos deal, Alonso is having difficulty adjusting to the spacious confines of PetCo park.  Eligible at both 1b/OF, Alonso could be a great option for struggling teams.  He has come around in hitting major league pitching and is heating up as the year progresses.  He is more of a gap hitter, though (7th in doubles in MLB,) and should hit for a decent average.  Think David Wright or Andre Ethier here (not saying they are all three equal by any means.)

Jorge Soler CHC
-  This guy is not even in standard fantasy leagues yet, but make sure you keep your eye on him.  Word is that this Cuban outfielder is even better than Cespedes, and at 19 is still a long way away from making the majors.  The Cubs did a great job bringing him in, and I think he is in control of his own destiny.  He should be up late next season or 2014, but could bring some major, major power and speed to Chicago.  You have been alerted.