Its easy to throw your weight behind players like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III this year, if not only because of the hype machines that run them up with collectors all over the hobby. Even I cant help but falling in love with their potential. However, even though Luck has led his team to a 9-4 record, and Griffin is the highest rated passer of the class, there are MANY other under the radar guys I think deserve more attention than they are getting.
Right now, Russell Wilson is performing better than Andrew Luck is. He is almost performing as well as RGIII is. Yet, his value is NOWHERE near where the two big guys are selling. Obviously Luck has a much better pedigree, and RGIII is a prototypical type guy, but Wilson is having a rookie campaign the likes which should make him a VERY big pull in packs. Right now, that isnt the case.
I was skeptical when he was invited to the premiere and didnt show up. I was happy when that happened. Now that Andrew Luck has made him one of his favorite targets, I think that might have been a bad thing for collectors rather than a good thing. Each year, there are a handful of no-name guys that perform well, and many of them are one season and out. Hilton shouldnt be one of those guys, and his autos are ridiculously cheap considering what Justin Blackmon sells for, in Jacksonville no less.
As long as Mike Shannahan is the coach in DC, Morris should have some great seasons. The guy is a ridiculous force coming out of the backfield, especially when they run him out of the option style offense with RGIII attracting the attention he gets. As a sixth round guy, he wasnt at the premiere and didnt have many autos up until the second half of the year, so I have to believe he is worth a look.
You would think that everyone knows that the muscle hampster is a guy that warrants another look from collectors. Even though RBs have become expendable, guys like Peterson and Foster are representative of what Doug Martin’s cards could eventually sell for. The issue is that the flood of his autos will be never ending, especially now that we have products every week until February. That doesnt mean we should give up on Martin.
Luke Kuechly / Harrison Smith
As a Vikings homer, its easy to see why I would say this stuff about a guy like Harrison Smith, but I think his resume and team affiliation speak for themselves. Fans in Minnesota are rabid, and Smith is a guy that could eventually be one of the top guys playing in the defensive secondary around the league. Because he is a defensive guy, he wont have many autos, and that plays right into my hand. As for Kuechly, his tackle counts are ridiculous, and he is another guy who can eventually be like Patrick Willis in this respect. Again, defensive players are rarely worth anything, but he is special. The problem is that the fan base in Carolina isnt exactly as faithful as the Vikings fans are.
Not every rookie has the stats to be a collector favorite so far, but this is a different hobby than it used to be a few years ago. Just about every rookie has cards and autographs, including guys like Bryce Brown, but not everyone has the playing situation to be an impact player, year after year. Its easy to want to throw money at Kirk Cousins or even TJ Yates from last year, however, these guys have established and productive starters that will monopolize the playing time. No playing time = no value in the future, but this is a week to week hobby, and there is always a chance.