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...
Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers: The Packers finally went ahead and officially made Montgomery a running back in Week 15 and he delivered in a big way. The converted receiver ran wild in the cold against the Bears, posting 162 rushing yards and a pair of scores. It looks like this backfield belongs to Montgomery the rest of the way and there should be a lot of confidence that he can continue to produce this week against a Vikings defense that was shredded by Frank Gore in Week 15.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks: There were numerous preseason expectations that Lockett could be a fantasy sleeper in 2016. Those didn't quite come to fruition, but the speedy receiver has picked things up lately. On Thursday, Lockett posted a season-high 130 receiving yards with a touchdown to help Seattle hammer the Los Angeles Rams. Lockett always had boom or bust potential, which means he could repeat the performance this week against the Cardinals. Or disappear completely.
Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans Saints: Here's more proof that fantasy football and real football don't always match up. Hightower was out-snapped, out-touched and out-gained by Mark Ingram, but a pair of rushing touchdowns gave him a far superior fantasy week. There's very little clarity as to what's going on in the Saints backfield, so this is a hard one to chase into a new week.
This is now...
Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Things have not gone according to plan in Jacksonville this season. But one of the more pleasant surprises has been the emergence of Lee as the team's top receiver. Two weeks ago, he set a career-high with 113 receiving yards. Last week, he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score. This week, he faces a Titans defense that has been awful against receivers for much of the year, but especially over the past month. The Albino Tiger should continue to eat.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions: At this point in the season, getting anything from your tight end feels like a small victory. But Ebron is in a good spot with a matchup against the Cowboys this week. Dallas has struggled to corral tight ends, allowing 12.53 fantasy points per game to the position over the past month. In Detroit's short, high-percentage passing game, there should be plenty of work for the tight end.
Oakland Raiders D/ST: The Raiders might not have the best defense in the league, but if you've watched myself and Ike Taylor on the Gameday Blitz, you know that they're a great situational defense. And that's great for fantasy. In case you hadn't noticed, Oakland has boasted a top 10 fantasy defense over the past four weeks. With Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin getting after Andrew Luck, there could be sacks and pressures leading to interceptions.