There's a lot that goes into building a successful fantasy lineup. While we like to spend a lot of time patting ourselves on the back for getting big games from players like Tom Brady and Julio Jones, often it's the unheralded players who can make the biggest difference. That's why we're celebrating the Small Victories -- the lesser-known players who may have contributed to your weekly fantasy football glory and those who could help lead you to the winner's circle in the future.
That was then...
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets: Even though Matt Forte has been dominating the backfield snaps and touches this season, Powell has had enough opportunity to be a fantasy tease. But when Forte went down with a knee injury early in Sunday's game against the 49ers, it turned into Powell's time to shine. As running backs have done all season long, the Jets backup shredded the hapless Niners defense for 179 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. If Forte returns next week, Powell will recede to the shadows. If not, then he will see another week as Gang Green's lead back.
Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins: Stills' role in the Dolphins offense as a deep ball threat makes him hard to count on every week. But when he takes off -- as he did in Week 14 against the Cardinals -- then you're glad to have him in the lineup. Stills made a couple of big catches, including one for a touchdown. We'll see which Stills shows up this week against the Jets. Let's hope it's last week's Stills and not the player who had 11 yards when the two teams met earlier this season.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys: You can generally count on one or two decent games every season from Williams. If you picked Week 14 to be one of those games, then congratulations for being a good guesser. The man who's been relegated to being Dallas' No. 3 receiver had 76 yards and accounted for the Cowboys' only touchdown in their loss to the Giants. Any production you get from Williams for the rest of the year is a bonus.
This is now...
Matt Moore, QB, Miami Dolphins: It's definitely a bold move to start a player like Matt Moore in your fantasy playoffs. But it's just crazy enough to work. Moore might be a backup, but he's still the kind of player that can come in and deliver a solid performance when needed. Right now, the Dolphins need it with their playoff hopes still hanging in the balance and facing a Jets secondary that has been less than special for much of the season. If you're rolling in a two-quarterback league, there is plenty of upside with Moore this week.
Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings haven't mustered much of a running game all season long, but when they have been able to move the ball on the ground it's mostly been on Asiata's back. The hulking back is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, which isn't great but it's better than Jerick McKinnon. More importantly, Asiata is taking all of the ever-important goal line carries which has led to his six rushing scores this season. A date with the Colts run defense would seem to hold nothing but good things for him.
Tajae Sharpe, WR, Tennessee Titans: Sharpe whetted out fantasy appetites with a nice performance in Week 1 before dropping off the radar for an extended period. He reminded us of his potential with back-to-back solid games in Weeks 10 and 11. In Week 15, the Chiefs secondary could help return Sharpe to our fantasy consciousness once again.