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Home stretch

Two weeks. That's all that remains in the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, and the jockeying for post-season positioning is heating up.

It's the perfect time of the season to have players hit their peak, and the following four fantasy studs are flying high at the opportune time to lead your team to playoff bliss.

Shaun Alexander (RB-Seattle Seahawks) – No other running back has been better than Alexander the past three weeks. The NFL's rushing yardage and touchdown leader has reached the end zone more in the last three games (7) than he has in any other three-game stretch of his entire career.

At a point in the season when many running backs are slowing down or banged up, Alexander is picking up his game. He had a season-high 33 carries two weeks ago, and he's had more than 20 carries in each game since Week 4. Meanwhile, he hasn't gained less than 115 rushing yards since Week 7.

Five of the Seahawks' final six opponents allow more than 100 rushing yards per game, so there's no reason to believe Alexander won't continue his torrid pace.

Peyton Manning (QB-Indianapolis Colts) – The encore to Manning's record-setting season didn't begin as most fantasy owners imagined. The defending league MVP threw only two touchdowns in the first three games, and tossed the same number of interceptions. Last year, it took Manning less than 60 minutes to throw his first two touchdowns.

A four-touchdown performance at Tennessee in Week 4 seemed to awaken Manning. In six games since then, he has passed for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in four of them. He has been almost untouchable the last three weeks, totaling 983 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and only two interceptions.

Manning's schedule appears favorable. Five of the Colts' last six games are against teams that allow more than 200 passing yards per game.

Drew Brees (QB-San Diego Chargers)– The 2004 Pro Bowler is making a late push to return to Hawaii with eight passing touchdowns in the past three games—all wins. He also has averaged 308 passing yards per game the past four contests.

Brees is on pace to pass for 3,900 yards this year, which would be a career high. He currently ranks eighth in the NFL with 2,438 passing yards. In 43 games heading into this season, Brees passed for more than 300 yards five times. This year, he already has done it twice.

Four of the Chargers' next six games are against teams that have allowed 12 or more passing touchdowns, so Brees isn't facing elite defensive backfields. If tight end Antonio Gates recovers from his foot injury, look for Brees to continue blossoming over the final six weeks of the season.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR-Arizona Cardinals) – Fitzgerald caught more than six passes in a game only once during his rookie season. This year, he has caught less than seven passes in only four games, and has caught eight or more balls five times.

Fitzgerald has been especially productive the past three weeks, hauling in 26 total passes for 347 yards (13.34 avg.) and two touchdowns. He ranks second in the NFL with 70 receptions and fourth in the league with 958 receiving yards.

The Cardinals lead the league with 42 pass attempts per game, completing 60.2 percent of those throws, so Fitzgerald should have plenty of opportunities to shine during the last six games of the year.


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