The NFL lockout is still in place, but recent meetings have given fantasy football freaks hope that the 2011 season will still be played in its entirety.
Once the lockout is lifted, teams will be ready to wheel and deal with plenty of players available on the trade market. Depending on the trades that could happen, the draft strategy for fantasy football could be thrown out of whack.
Here are seven players in key skill positions that are worth monitoring for fantasy football.
The Philadelphia Eagles have made it clear that for the right price, teams can acquire quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Kolb has shown some potential but has yet to be given a full year under center to prove his worth. With so many teams in need of a decent starting quarterback, Kolb will most likely be one of the big names that is traded once the lockout is lifted.
Kolb will automatically be a starter in the NFL, and depending on where he lands, it will dramatically increase his stock in fantasy football drafts.
Vince Young fell from stardom in just a few seasons under Jeff Fisher as a member of the Tennessee Titans. Although Fisher is now gone as head coach, the Titans ownership is still open to a trade for the embattled young signal-caller.
In the right environment with the right leadership, Young could produce and put up big numbers. Unlike other quarterbacks on this list, Young has the mobility that will make him a double threat to fantasy owners.
Donovan McNabb’s time as a field general for the Washington Redskins has clearly come to an end. The relationship between McNabb and head coach Mike Shanahan wore thin last year, and a trade will most likely be in the works, once the lockout is lifted.
The most likely rumored landing spot has been with the Minnesota Vikings. This is a good spot for McNabb, and fantasy owners may want to consider taking a shot at the grizzled veteran with a late pick in the draft.
McNabb will have plenty of weapons if he goes to Minnesota, and that could revitalize his career and his numbers.
Carson Palmer is holding the Cincinnati Bengals hostage and has said that he will retire before he ever suits up for the Bengals again.
The Bengals ownership have announced they have no intentions of trading Palmer, but after drafting Andy Dalton, the Bengals may be swayed after the lockout.
Palmer is a steady veteran in this league and with so many teams in need of a strong starter, teams will be interested. If Palmer is traded, fantasy owners will have to monitor his progression and consider the veteran as a solid pick in the draft.
Carson Palmer is not the only Bengal that could be traded in the offseason. Chad Ochocinco is rumored to be on his way out of Cincinnati.
The flamboyant wide receiver would be a welcomed addition to many teams and has recently been linked to the New England Patriots. If Ochocinco suits up in the red, white and blue under a Tom Brady-led offense, his numbers could dramatically increase.
This wacky wideout is worth monitoring for fantasy owners during the offseason.
The Carolina Panthers are in rebuilding mode, as evident by the first-round draft pick of quarterback Cam Newton.
The Panthers have a very tradable asset in wide receiver Steve Smith. Plenty of teams are looking for a veteran wideout to add to their current arsenal, and Smith would be a welcome addition to any team.
Smith is capable of putting up huge numbers in the right offense and if he is traded, fantasy football fans need to take notice.
The writing may be on the wall for Reggie Bush.
Bush was clearly upset on draft day when the Saints traded up in the draft to grab Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. Bush has a huge contract and the Saints may be willing to part ways with the controversial running back.
In the right setting, Bush could excel as a pass-catching threat and rack up points on special teams.
Fantasy owners need to keep an eye on Reggie Bush and where he might play this season.
With the lockout in place, fantasy football fans need to be very flexible. The season could start later than normal, and the schedule could change.
Once the season is announced, free agency and trades will dominate the news. Keeping up on player movement will be a surefire way to make a run at a fantasy football championship season.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist. Feel free to contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org.