Elite players key to fantasy titles

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is threatening to break Tom Brady's single-season touchdown pass record.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is threatening to break Tom Brady's single-season touchdown pass record. (Associated Press)
Posted: December 04, 2013

This doesn't look like one of those years in which a roster comprised of waiver-wire wonders and shooting stars is going to compete against the big boys.

Fantasy owners savvy or lucky enough to have drafted Peyton Manning are in the driver's seat. But the odds-on NFL MVP will have to keep the missiles firing to topple squads led by Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Matt Stafford, Tony Romo and even, belatedly, Tom Brady.

Nick Foles might have something to say about it, and Aaron Rodgers is the ultimate wild card. But teams with second-tier passers had better be awfully solid at the RB and WR positions to run the postseason gauntlet.

Right on cue, the elite rushers are separating from the pack as well. Adrian Peterson is closing out the season in battering-ram style. Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush and Matt Forte are workhorses we can trust.

The top-tier wideouts are leaving little to chance. You have to feel confident heading into the playoffs with Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown and Denver's prolific trio. We're also witnessing the emergence of three exceptional second-year wideouts - Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery and Michael Floyd - who are staking their claims to elite status.

Finally, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis and a healthy Julius Thomas regularly give their owners a weekly advantage at the tight end position that is difficult to overcome.

Here's a look at a couple of players worth considering for your postseason run.

Catch 'em while you can

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers. Those banking on Le'Veon Bell must consider scooping up Dwyer, who would be pressed into the starting lineup if Bell's concussion symptoms don't clear up quickly. On the positive side, Dwyer will be facing the weak Dolphins run defense in Week 14. On the other hand, Dwyer is no Bell.

Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers. We've now seen that Crabtree has recovered his explosiveness and he's in reasonable sync with his quarterback. Likely freed from his precautionary snap count going forward, Crabtree can be very helpful down the stretch.

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