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Fantasy Football 2012: Three Raider Sleepers to Target Late In Drafts

Having already covered three Raiders to target early in drafts and three to avoid altogether, now it's time to look at three Raiders who are worth taking a look at in the latter stages of your draft. One of them is a no-brainer but the other two could pay huge dividends given the right set of circumstances.

First, Mike Goodson. Every good fantasy owner is aware of the concept of "handcuffing", that is, drafting the backup to one of your early draft picks in case of injury. That way you get a similar level of production without having to scour the waiver wire for whatever scrubs your league-mates haven't already scooped up. This year, Goodson will be one of the most sought-after handcuffs because not only is Darren McFadden ridiculously injury prone, but the Raiders' rushing offense has been known to produce more than one reliable fantasy player at a time. Even if McFadden remains healthy, Goodson has a shot of being a valuable commodity, as Michael Bush was during his tenure in Oakland. If you draft McFadden, give Goodson a look during the last five rounds of your draft.

Next up is David Ausberry. Yesterday I covered why Brandon Myers should be avoided at all costs. That's assuming he wins the top TE job. If Ausberry wins the job, all bets are off. Ausberry is a vastly superior athlete who is an absolute mismatch for any linebacker who tries to cover him. He has wide receiver speed and good hands. Don't bother with him if your draft takes place before the preseason, but if you draft near the opening weekend and Ausberry has impressed during the exhibition games, he might be worth a flyer as a backup TE in the last round of your draft.

Finally, Sebastian Janikowski. Now I admit it's a tad disingenuous to put him on this list because he is the best player at his position in all of football and therefore does not by any stretch qualify as a sleeper. That being said, he is not the highest ranked fantasy kicker. Stephen Gostkowski has held that role for the last couple seasons due to his role as the kicker for the Patriots. Gostkowski is a good solid kicker who can get you six points a week on extra points alone. Janikowski's low ranking has more to do with his offense than himself, as in the Jamarcus Russell days the offense rarely got close enough to the end zone for even Jano's huge leg to be effective.
At this point, however, the Raider offense is good enough where Janikowski is a legitimate contender for Best Overall Fantasy Kicker. That distinction is sort of like being the Best Looking Old Lady At The Nursing Home, but if your league like most public leagues has bonuses for kicks of 40+ and 50+ yards then Janikowski can easily net you 13-15 points a week. That's good enough for consideration a round or two ahead of where you would usually take a kicker.

For more on the Oakland Raiders, join the discussion over at Silver And Black Pride. You can also check out everything we have to offer at SB Nation's NFL hub.