Elements is a capable program - and for certain functions is nearly as good as Photoshop.
I think your real choices are between Lightroom and CNX2. That's a bit of a choice between an Adobe workflow and a Nikon workflow. Both programs are quite capable and will accomodate 98% of your likely needs.
I use View, Capture, and Photo Mechanic. I have Photoshop CS6 and use it for specific needs - such as print management, adding canvas, and heavy cloning. I use View as my primary browser, for rating images, and for browsing. I also use it for editing on snapshots and high volume images such as event photos. I use Capture NX2 for serious editing of images I am selling or posting on my website. I like the file management approach and lossless edits. I also like using the in camera settings such as picture controls and ADL - and these programs honor those settings. I use Photo Mechanic to import files, attach keywords, apply watermarks, and support captions and naming.
I don't see any major need to use Elements. I have it because my wife uses it for photo projects and printing. I think of it as Photoshop Lite - and consider it inferior to Lightroom or Capture for advanced editing.
Lightroom is increasingly the replacement for both Photoshop and Elements. Most advanced Photoshop users have adopted Lightroom because it is a great organizer, a very good editor, and is easy to use. Functionality is very good. It does not use the camera settings, but has presets that do the job. And it will work with your NEF file and apply edits losslessly. It also works well with a wide range of plugins for special needs.