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...
Mike Gilislee, RB, Buffalo Bills: With LeSean McCoy sidelined with an injury, it was Gillislee's time to shine. He took full advantage of the opportunity by posting 94 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Patriots. The downside is that Gillislee has a pretty limited fantasy shelf life. Once Shady is healthy and ready to go, Gillislee will return to his No. 2 running back duties with a severe reduction in snaps and touches. But it was all good for one week, right?
Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets: Sunday's matchup with the Browns was tasty one and Enunwa helped himself to a large serving of fantasy points. The young Jets receiver posted his best game of the season with 93 yards and a score. With Eric Decker on the shelf and a fairly favorable schedule on tap for the remainder of the season, this might not be the last time we talk about Enunwa putting up a quality stat line.
Josh McCown, QB, Cleveland Browns: Welcome back, Josh McCown. As a thank you gift, we offered the Jets secondary ... and you seemed quite grateful. The journeyman finished with a 20-point fantasy day that could have been even bigger if it wasn't for a pair of interceptions. With Cody Kessler cleared to practice and a handful of sketchy matchups in the future, McCown's fantasy fortunes are far from certain. But if you spot-started McCown last week, you probably have more and better options.
This is now...
Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans Saints: With Mark Ingram crawling further into Sean Payton's doghouse, Hightower gets to assume a larger role in the Saints running game. Ingram isn't totally off the radar, but how can you trust a committee back that cedes goal line carries to the likes of Coby Fleener? The answer is that you can't. Dating back to 2015, Hightower has more 100-yard rushing games than Ingram ... and gets to face the 49ers next week. Yeeeeee!
Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: The shelf life here could be very short. Spencer Ware is going through the league's concussion protocol but should resume the Chiefs' RB1 role when he's ready to go. Jamaal Charles is seeking more opinions on one of his surgically-repaired knees. That leaves the Kansas City backfield open for the time being. West isn't quite as talented as Charles or Ware, but he should see a large volume of touches against the Jaguars this week.
Antone Smith, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Two years ago, Smith became a fantasy darling when he scored five touchdowns in a six-game stretch at the start of the 2014 season. He might have a similar chance in Week 9 with Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers both battling injuries. It'll be important to keep an eye on the Bucs practice reports as the week progresses. But with Tampa having a short week and playing on Thursday night, it could be hard to get either of the front line backs ready. Oh, and one more thing for Smith this week ... REVENGE!!!