2015 NFL Kickoff: Breaking Down Week 1 Rookie Performances

This was a good kickoff weekend for a number of collectors, as there were some rookies that definitely showcased exactly why they were collector favorites for most of the offseason and preseason. Others looked like they needed a few more minutes in the oven. Here are some of the top rookies and how they fared.

Marcus Mariota – 209 yards, 4 TDs

The hobby will overvalue his performance in the blowout victory, and that makes me incredibly happy. Although he didnt really wasnt asked to do much in the way his passes were choreographed, his execution was nothing short of perfect. I say the hobby will overvalue because EVERYONE overreacts to week one, and that is what makes football so much fun. This type of a performance will set up WEEKS worth of product releases, even if he struggles against a team that wasnt the worst in football a year ago. People will chase his cards like they have been since the game started, and trust me, we need every last piece of that action in this hobby. Think back to what that catch did for Beckham, and this could do some similar things at a much more important hobby position.

His cards are legitimately on fire right now:

2015 Bowman Chrome Marcus Mariota Gold Refractor Auto

2015 Topps Marcus Mariota 1987 On Card Auto /25

2015 Topps Inception Marcus Mariota Inscription Auto /10

2015 Donruss Elite Marcus Mariota Patch Auto /25

Ameer Abdullah – 50 yards RUSH, 1 TD, 44 yards REC

There was no other rookie who gained the most hype over the preseason than Ameer Abdullah, thanks to some flashy running during the early games. He was able to put up an impressive breakaway TD in the first quarter of the loss to SD, which is good to see that he has been able to get some results early on. Although he didnt rush for 100 yards, it was good to see him get his spotlight as the afternoon games started.

His cards were already selling well coming out of the preseason:

2015 Topps Inception Ameer Abdullah Inscription Auto /10

2015 Topps Ameer Abdullah RC Auto SSP Variation

2015 Topps Ameer Abdullah Rookie Premiere Auto Red Ink /10

Jameis Winston – 210 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT

Pro football focus ranked Winston’s performance just ahead of Matt McGloin, which isnt a good sign, but it wasnt the overall performance that will hurt his hobby value. In a world where the hot take reigns supreme, his opening throw getting picked for a score will haunt his value until he turns it around. Even if he plays mediocre for the next few games, that play will get as much air time as Mariota’s huge game. Scary. Tampa is truly terrible, again, and we knew that it would take Winston getting some offensive line help and a running game before he would be able to really put a stamp on his potential. Dont give up now.

Cards are on a downturn, but all it takes is one good week:

2015 Spectra Jameis Winston Jumbo Patch Auto 1/1

2015 Immaculate Multi Sport Jameis Winston Auto /10

2015 Topps Jameis Winston Auto Jumbo Patch /50

Amari Cooper – 5 catches, 44 yards

Its not good that Carr injured his hand before the game really got going. Matt McGloin is not Derek Carr, and Cooper’s day likely suffered as a result. They got blown out by the Bengals, and although he didnt exactly shit the bed, he didnt get the numbers that Im sure a lot of people would hope he could get against a defense that was pretty damn good last year. If he put up a big day, it would say a lot about his ability. Without Carr, its just not a good representation.

You can still get his cards pretty cheap either way, and I dont think its a bad idea:

2015 Topps Inception Amari Cooper Jumbo Patch Auto Booklet

2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Amari Cooper Auto Inscription

Melvin Gordon – 55 yards RUSH, 0 TD, 16 yards REC

I hate when coaches give the red zone carries to someone other than the feature back. Woodhead in all his “gritty” and “lunchbox” glory got two TDs on the day, including a run from a yard out. It put quite the damper on Gordon’s numbers on paper, and that isnt good for the hobby. Lets hope he gets the looks next time San Diego is near the goal line.

Here is what his cards have done since then:

2015 Topps Inception Melvin Gordon Silver Ink Auto /50

2015 Leaf Trinity Melvin Gordon Inscription Auto

Its worth reinforcing that this is just week one, but this is what every collector has been waiting for since the first 2015 products hit the shelves. There were more rookies who played well, including Karlos Williams and Rashad Greene, who both had TDs in their games. I think that there will be much more action to judge in the coming weeks, and its not in anyone’s best interest to judge anyone – including Mariota – on one performance. There is thankfully a shit ton of football left to be played, and I cannot be more excited.

2015 Topps Huddle Launches With Full NFL Licensing

If you love the digital card scene as much as I do, this was huge news. Probably the biggest news I have experienced as a football fan since first stumbling on Huddle a few years back. Up until this point, Huddle has only had licensing through the NFLPA, limiting the game’s true potential to perform the way Topps’ other fully licensed apps perform. That all changed yesterday.


Since 2012, I have played Huddle and felt that a huge opportunity was being lost because the app was missing the logos and action shot photography, save for weeks 1 and 2 of 2014. It probably goes back to the fact that when the digital apps were conceived, Huddle was likely more of an experiment to see if their MLB licensed baseball formula would work in the NFL.

As a result, the game never reached the same level that Bunt and Kick did, always playing second fiddle due to lack of a league license. Well, I am happy to finally get to experience what Huddle is like with the NFL’s branding power behind it. Here is a breakdown of what Huddle’s new look will mean.


All Huddle cards will now be able to be created with NFL branding. This means the usage of team uniforms, word and watermark logos, and league logos as well. Everything in Huddle will move away from the head shots and airbrushing of years past, and it will function much more like Bunt and Kick in the way cards are done. Logos provide an aesthetic that cant be beat, and with a top level design team for the cards, its no doubt that the app will look great this year.

Existing Cards

I can assure you that previous years of Huddle NFLPA cards will not be redesigned to fit the new license, as much as I want them to be. Its too much time without much return on the investment. Im just looking forward thankful that I never have to go back to that situation from 2012-2014.

Player Photography

No more headshots! NO. MORE. HEADSHOTS. With a full league license, the base set can be digitized from Topps Football, and no longer needs to be edited. This means the way a photo looks on every NFL website will now be available to be built into a digital card, similar to Bunt. All inserts will also feature in game photos, and I am already starting to notice that Topps Digital has gone into overdrive so that no rookies are pictured using combine or OTA pictures. Pretty cool to see.


All event and league generated logos are now available for usage in the app. This includes all kickoff, playoff, and Super Bowl signage as well as the NFL Draft and Pro Bowl. Of all the things that present the most potential, this is what is going to be the most refreshing. There is no need to call anything the Big Game anymore, like they had to over the last few years.

This should prove to be pretty interesting, as the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl marketing blitz could find its way to Huddle. I cannot wait to see what happens as the season moves on.

Additionally, all awards can now be called exactly what they are, including MVPs and Players of the Week, directly after the NFL makes them known.


Although legends are a player thing as much as they are a league thing, I would guess NFL history will be a huge part of the plans for 2015 Huddle. I would be remiss to believe that they dont already have a bunch on board, and we will surely see how this impact things. More importantly, all that rich history of Topps’ football presence in physical cards can now be accessed.


Most importantly, with an announcement like this, its clear that Topps has made a significant investment in their digital apps. In all honesty, Huddle could end up being the flagship app with NFL licensing, especially with the popularity of fantasy football. I would assume that they will transition the way the game was marketed into a new blitz of channels, as they now have a product that can compete with any mobile NFL game. Im serious, this is a huge deal.

With Topps no longer being able to produce PHYSICAL cards with current players as of 2016, Huddle should become the only way they remain in the game with rookies and existing players. Its sad that this is the case, but still amazing that Topps Football found a way to live on.

Market Presence

Expect Huddle to be everywhere. Front page of the app store, potentially NFL.com, they will be riding this wave to thousands of more users. That also means that the game is going to change. It very well could end up being a community with size comparable to Star Wars at first, especially as people see it everywhere NFL has online ad space. There will be user attrition, but Huddle is going to explode. This means that it is in your best interest to attain as many of the first few cards as you can, as you dont want to miss out when the tidal wave hits.

I would also expect the new HUDDLE spokesperson – JJ Watt to have a big hand in promoting things, as Trout has for Bunt. They will likely have many other brand ambassador agreements that will showcase what the new game has to offer. Look for the players to get behind this game in terms of promotion.

Overall, this is ONE OF the biggest things to happen to Topps Digital since the launch of their Star Wars Card Trader app. It might even be more important in the grand scheme of things. The NFL is a licensing beast, and one of the most visible brands in the USA. This acquisition cannot be understated, especially with how big fantasy football is to fans. I expect this to be one of the best seasons of any app in the history of all four. What a great day for all us digital weekend warriors who have been around since the beginning.

2015 NFL Kickoff: The Madness Begins!

I say it every single year. I have one religious holiday and today is that day. NFL kickoff is FINALLY here, and I cannot put into words how excited I am. This is my favorite time of year, when all hope is still in tact, and everyone in the hobby is buzzing for the first time in months. The barren wasteland of football-less time is over, and we are now primed for the 5 months of seeing what this season is all about.

Prediction for Hobby MVP – Andrew Luck

This isnt really a prediction per se, but rather a statement. Luck has already surged into a status reserved for people like Brady and Rodgers, but I think that this year will be his time to really reap the rewards of his talent. I think the Colts are easily a favorite to win their division, and might be a favorite to win the whole thing. That would make Luck’s ridiculous prices that much more insane.

As you can see, things are already in the stratosphere:

2012 National Treasures Andrew Luck Rookie Auto Patch /49

2012 Contenders Andrew Luck Auto Ticket BGS 9.5

2012 Topps Five Star Andrew Luck Rookie Auto Patch

2014 Topps Five Star Andrew Luck Silver Signature Auto

Prediction for Hobby Rookie of the Year – Amari Cooper

Again, not going too far off book on this, because many of the experts are picking him too. The reason why this might be a surprise for the hobby is that WR are usually very low valued. Hell, if you arent a QB these days, its low value by default. As expected, Cooper’s stuff isnt that high right now, or at least not where it should be, mainly because everyone is so focused on Mariota and Winston. I think he could have a great season and really light up the scoreboard in the hobby as well.

Here is where his value is currently:

2015 Topps Inception Amari Cooper Auto Blue Parallel

2015 Topps Football Amari Cooper Rookie Premiere Red Ink Auto /10

2015 Topps Football Amari Cooper Jumbo Patch Auto

Prediction for Hobby Rookie Disappointment of the Year – Todd Gurley

Let me start this off by saying that I dont think this will be 100% a result of his talent. It will be a combination of the knee injury, the place he is playing, and RBs being hobby plebeians as of late. Gurley is a talented player, but he isnt going to put up numbers to sustain any real value. His name will prevent him from going into the crapper completely, but I wouldnt dive deep on him at all. Doesnt help that his autograph is a give up.

Gurley’s stuff is a bit down already following news he will be out until week 3:

2015 Donruss Elite Todd Gurley Auto Patch

2015 Topps Football Todd Gurley 1987 Retro Auto

Potential Blockbuster – Topps Huddle Gets NFL License

As was just announced, Topps Digital secured an NFL license for their Huddle app, something that has been 3 years in the making. When you consider the juggernaut that their digital portfolio has become, adding an NFL license could not be bigger. With Topps losing the NFLPA license after 2015, this is a way that Topps football can live on. Truly amazing that they got the license when they did.

Check out my write up from Digital Card Central for More info!


Cut Bait – Robert Griffin III

I know that many of you dove in deep on his cards during his rookie year as the top guy in the yard. He was spectacular. Of course, Washington never seems to be without their own personal brand of clusterfuck in every situation, which has led to Kirk Cousins getting the nod. Neither looks to be in a particularly good situation, and that is going to impact hobby value in a tremendous fashion. Its time to cut bait on buying in any further, but you might want to hold your goods to see where he lands next year. Who knows, lots of people find new life in a new city.

Here are his cards:

2012 Topps Supreme Robert Griffin III Jumbo Patch Auto

2012 Topps Strata Robert Griffin III Rookie Patch Auto Clear Cut

Second Year QBs Poised for Success – Carr and Bridgewater

These guys are walking into some prime territory, and its looking very good for their prospects in 2015. Teddy has Peterson back on his side, which should do wonders for their passing game. Carr has Amari Cooper, who I have already pegged as a top candidate for rookie of the year. If the 2015 class is soft, these guys should pick up some of the pieces.

Cards are already heating up:

2014 National Treasures Teddy Bridgewater Rookie Auto Patch

2014 Topps Supreme Teddy Bridgewater Jumbo Booklet Inscription Auto

2014 Topps Chrome Derek Carr Rookie Auto BGS 9.5

2014 Crown Royale Derek Carr Silhouette Auto Patch

This is really going to be a fun season, and it starts tonight. Although I dont think the league has quite recovered from everything that happened over the offseason, tonight that all melts away.

On the Radar: 2015 Topps Definitive Collection

Let me start out by saying I am upset that Five Star is likely gone. Let me finish that thought by saying this new set looks fucking awesome.

Today, we got a good look at what Topps is planning for what looks like their final set of the year, and I am literally floored by what the sell sheet is showing this product is all about. Although this should cost a bit more than Five Star, the product looks to encompass a lot of what Five Star was all about, plus a bunch. I have said over the years that Five Star is one of my favorite sets of the year, if not only because it remains the only affordable product with all on card autographs.

Although enormously under appreciated, I have never been disappointed by a set that offers what Five Star offers. I will surely be sad to see it go:

2012 Topps Five Star Ryan Tannehill Logo Patch Auto 1/1

2010 Five Star John Elway Quotables Inscription Auto /10

2011 Five Star Peyton Manning Auto Inscription

2014 Topps Five Star Tom Brady Auto SSP

Definitive Collection, as a possible replacement, looks tremendous in just about every way. The Rookie auto patch cards, which use a silhouette type approach are some of the best looking cards I think Topps has done in a long, long time. Cutting the player into the swatch window adds an element of action to the card’s look, something that makes these cards absolutely awesome. This is something Panini has done well over the years, but Topps is finally looking to add some die cut content in a product like this.

The jumbo patch autos look to be taking a very similar elegant approach, with a simplistic yet stunning look, which provides a jumbo patch auto along side the on card autograph. These look very similar to the National Treasures cards of the same type, but I like the look a lot better with the added foil embellishments, and possible leather bound backs according to the sell sheet.

Definitive looks to also be bringing framed elements into the product on the Winston preview, something I absolutely live for with its inspiration in Museum Collection. The framed cards are some of the best examples of a cool technology that exists, something that Panini has even copied for its basketball sets.

Overall, each design looks better than the last, something that I wish Topps had more years to develop under their current NFLPA and NFLP licenses. I think that as a whole, this is easily the best best set that Topps has put together, at least on paper, and at 750-800 dollars a box, it better be. Where Panini tends to fail is that Football cannot support a product like Flawless, despite what current prices show on the wax market. Singles will never add up to a 1500 dollar box price, but something at this price point will sell like hot cakes for the content it delivers. Its sad that National Treasures will win the value wars by default, even though I would be SHOCKED if they could generate anything that looks as good as the jumbo auto rookie patches look for this product. Panini just doesnt operate at this level, and Topps has shown that they are the FAAAAAAR superior company in just about every single opportunity they have.

To think that this is likely Topps’ last go at a top end football product, they are definitely going out with a bang. All around, we will be sad to see them go, and when you look upon a product like Definitive Collection, its pretty fucking clear who should remain a part of this sport.

On the Radar: 2015 Immaculate Football

Even though I absolutely HATE the awful name of this set, its hard to argue that it isnt one worth looking forward to. Immaculate has been a product that people seem to enjoy in all the sports its offered, despite some issues with it being truly a product worth raving about. Last year’s version was quite the surprise, with a lot of non-RC on card content, and some really good looking cards. There were still stickers in the product, which took away from the overall potential, but as a whole it was one of the best sets Panini put out.

Check out some of the stunning cards from 2014:

2014 Immaculate Teddy Bridgewater NFL Logo Auto 1/1

2014 Immaculate Odell Beckham Jr Auto Jumbo Logo Patch 1/1

2014 Immaculate Tom Brady Auto Jumbo Patch /49 – Lots of high profile stickers in this set

2014 Immaculate Andrew Luck Auto Patch /25

This year, Panini has struggled with just about everything that has to do with football. On card content for the rookie class has dropped to almost nothing, and design as a whole has been a complete fucking disaster. They may have just released the worst product of the last 15 years with Spectra football, and that scared in looking ahead to sets that will anchor their calendar. Luckily for us, the Football team decided to yield to a much more talented Basketball team, copying the first cards previewed verbatim.

These cards look pretty tremendous, as they did in Basketball, and if we are lucky, they will copy a lot of the other great elements as well. Basketball, as a whole, tends to find ways to put out good looking designs much more frequently than Football, and it shows with products that have origins there. Of course, we are likely in for more of those disgusting signed scraps of black construction paper, but we can hope that the stupidity of previous sets is minimized by a product jam packed with other great stuff. Topps has already previewed a new product called “Definitive Collection” which looks to be something that could rival National Treasures as their final set under the current NFLPA license. Immaculate will likely be out by then, as will Flawless, and only then will we be able to see how everything measures up.

Last year, Flawless offered ZERO of the cards from this preview, with very few really stunning cards that couldnt be found anywhere else. In what I consider to be a HORRIBLE decision, Immaculate is where those cards were used, despite Flawless costing 1500 a box. Immaculate offers the content that should be available in a top shelf price tagged product like Flawless, and yet, here we are again. Obviously, when Panini solicits the full product, we will have more to judge as to the potential merit of the set.