Championships are built on them.
Sometimes the most important members on a team are the supporting cast. You know them, the ones who take the last roster spot, who get called in as an emergency fill-in because of injuries, the ones who were signed just for depth. Sometimes, when those few get a chance to shine, they can provide a boost that can make a good team a great team and even lift them to the top of the mountain.
Just as the rule applies on the field, the same thing applies in fantasy football.
The most successful owners are the ones who scour the free-agent and waiver wires every week, looking for hidden treasures among the endless dunes of backups. How many owners were able to claim bragging rights over their friends because they picked up Sidney Rice or Mike Sims-Walker early last season.
With Week 11 looming, there's still time to find the treasures that can save a season.
Here are 20 under the radar picks that could make a difference this week.
This is somewhat of a risky pick, mostly because of the feast or famine quality the Seahawks offense has had this season. But Butler does have three receiving touchdowns to lead the team, including a 63-yard touchdown last week against Arizona. And if New Orleans tries to take away Mike Williams, Matt Hasselbeck might look to Butler.
Prediction: Four points. Nothing too strong, but has potential for a touchdown here and there.
The undrafted free agent out of Memphis doesn't exactly have a sparkling resume this season. In fact, he doesn't even have a resume. Calhoun hasn't registered a catch yet this season.
But his spot on this list is because that's likely to change this week. With Steve Smith out and Ramses Barden likely done for the season, either he or the newly-signed Derek Hagan will step up into the Giants' third receiver spot behind Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham.
Prediction: Four points. He might not have big stats because Eli Manning likes to go to Nicks and his tight ends, but I'll put good money down that he'll get a couple of targets at least.
James stepped into a supporting role three weeks ago because of a dearth of healthy running backs on the Colts roster: Joseph Addai, Donald Brown and Mike Hart were all banged up at the time. Since then James has not put up gawdy rushing stats (17 carries, 42 yards), but he does have a touchdown in two consecutive games and three in the last two weeks.
Prediction: Five points. He might be limited and pushed back to the bench this week if Addai is healthy and can play. But if not, look for James to get carries, especially in the red zone to increase his touchdown streak.
Beckum is another Giant who might benefit from the injuries at the receiver position. Yahoo Sports reported the Giants want to have Beckum more involved in the offense because of his size. And with the possibility of Kevin Boss also missing the game, Beckum might become a safety valve underneath for Eli Manning if he can't go deep.
Prediction: Five points. Keep an eye on Boss' status. If he can't go, then look to pick him up.
Ford had been non-existent in the Raiders' offense until Oakland starting dealing with injuries at the receiver position. He stepped up the last couple of weeks, including his huge performance in Oakland's OT win versus the Chiefs. The Raider receivers are healing now, but his performance might get him a little playing time.
Prediction: Six points. Nothing too much, but if he can duplicate what he did against Kansas City and become a Mike Wallace type of player for the Raiders you might want to jump on the bandwagon.
Arizona's wideouts are tough to figure out and predict because of the instability at quarterback (paging Kurt Warner), but Doucet had a nice outing last week against Seattle. Against the Chiefs' young secondary and with Steve Breaston struggling, Doucet might be a sleeper pick.
Prediction: Seven points. I trust Doucet more than I trust Breaston right now.
The former Cowboy has fit in very nicely and apparently very quietly in San Diego, posting more than 400 yards this season with little fanfare. His role might be limited soon with Malcom Floyd and others healing, but with Antonio Gates hurting and possibly not playing Monday night Crayton could have a big role.
Prediction: Seven points. He'll get looks in the Chargers' increasingly pass-first offense.
I'm guessing you didn't know that this season Jason Snelling has rushed for almost 300 yards, caught 28 passes, has four touchdowns and is the Falcons third down back. With only 34 percent of Yahoo league owners owning him, I'm guessing the fantasy football world didn't realize it either.
Prediction: Seven points. He may not get a touchdown, but he'll get touches. And sometimes even yards can add up.
The biggest hurdle facing Williams was already cleared, when coach Raheem Morris said the receiver would play and start for the Buccaneers Sunday in San Francisco after allegedly being arrested Friday morning for DUI. Williams is starting to establish himself as young quarterback Josh Freeman's go-to receiver and could have a big day against San Fran's secondary.
Prediction: Eight points. If he's not distracted, he could put some yards up against the 49ers.
Manningham is one of those guys who's well-known in the fantasy world but somewhat of a depth player. With Steve Smith out, Manningham has been getting a lot of playing time. Expect a lot of passes thrown his way this week against Philadelphia.
Prediction: Nine points. With Asante Samuel probably assigned to cover Hakeem Nicks, don't be surprised if Eli looks Manningham's way a lot.
Again, another pretty well-known name in the fantasy world. Like Manningham, someone who you can expect to produce down the stretch. Earlier in the season Maclin performed well because a lot of the attention went to Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. With both players healthy, expect Maclin to quietly put up numbers again.
Prediction: 10 points. He's good for at least a touchdown.
He was about the only positive for the Redskins during the Monday Night debacle against Philadelphia, rushing for two scores and close to 100 yards. Even if Clinton Portis is named the starter Sunday, expect Williams to get a good amount of touches with no Ryan Torain Sunday afternoon against the Titans.
Prediction: 10 points. Yards might not be there against a tough Tennessee defense, but he could sneak in a score either in the red zone or on a screen.
Is there another player who has gotten more yards (451) out of 20 catches? He seems to break at least one big play every week and he's becoming one of Donovan McNabb's few playmakers and go-to targets. He's had catches of 50 and 76 yards the last two weeks.
Prediction: 10 points. Even with no scores, he'll have at least one long catch.
It doesn't matter who the Colts stick in the lineup, it usually works.
It has with Tamme, the tight end who is stepping in for Dallas Clark, who is out for the season with an injury. All Tamme has done in the last two weeks in the starting spot is catch 20 passes for close to 200 yards and a touchdown. He has 25 catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns in the last four weeks.
Prediction: 11 points. With a banged-up receiving core, Tamme will get plenty of targets.
Walter finally contributed again to the Texans' attack, going for 90 yards and a score against the Jacksonville secondary last week. With the Jets expecting to focus on shutting down Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, Walter could get a favorable matchup against either Antonio Cromartie or rookie Kyle Wilson.
Prediction: 12 points. Walter will get his chances to contribute, at the very least.
Young has had a strong year so far, despite being in and out of the lineup the last couple of weeks with a nagging ankle injury. With Kerry Collins out, Young comes back in and could put up nice numbers against a weak Washington defense. Chris Johnson could have a big day against the struggling run defense. But if the Redskins commit to stopping the run, look for Young to look for Randy Moss downfield.
Prediction: 15 points. Tennessee isn't a pass-happy offense to begin with, but Young could have a nice day.
Freeman's development is a big reason why the Buccaneers are 6-3 and banging down the door of the NFC South. He's already shown a flare for the dramatic, bringing the Bucs' back numerous times this season for come-from-behind victories and almost engineering another one at Atlanta last month. He's doing it without a dominant wide receiver too.
Prediction: 18 points. He could have a big day against the 49ers and a struggling secondary.
Scott's inclusion in this list is more of a pre-emptive strike than anything else. He's the backup to Cedric Benson, who is currently listed as questionable for this weekend's game. There are reports Benson could play, but those were changed to questionable by mid-day Friday. If Benson can't play and Scott does start, he would face the worst rush defense in the league in Buffalo.
Prediction: 19 points (if he plays). If he plays, he could very easily go for 100 yards+ and a score.
The last two weeks could be described as the realization of all the potential Smith showed at Ohio State when he helped take them to the National Championship Game. He's mobile, he delivers, he's poised. Most of all, he's brought a dangerous aspect to the 49ers offense that was lacking with Alex Smith. It's no wonder the 49ers have played better with Troy under center.
Prediction: 20 points. He could have a big day against Tampa's defense. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis might be worth consideration for a starting spot in your lineup as well.
Kitna was close to flawless last week against the Giants. Of course, it was nice he received help from his receivers, who actually caught balls for him (a tough order his first few starts) and a running game that actually picked up yards (see pass-catching receivers). Kitna showed the poise and confidence he's had in glimpses throughout his career and with Detroit's secondary coming up he could have a huge day.
Prediction: 25 points. Can you say winning streak?