First, I got one of the three mini boxes from a hobby box (so a 5 card pack around $50 at the LCS). It contained a dual teammates relic (OBJ and Shepard), random auto # 25 /25 (Delvin Breaux, love that name bro :), a rookie insert (John Ross from UW!), and two base.
My second and most fruitful approach was a full case (hobby) break with 3 different teams, the Seahawks on one case, and both the Giants and Eagles on another. Had to bid on each team individually, and it totaled a little over $100. I got some really nice veteran relics, some rookie autos, interesting old school autos, low # parallels, and some base.
My favorite card from the breaks, and the only major Seahawks hit, was a Richard Sherman three color jersey card # 4 /25! Looks like a piece of a number from the “college navy” blue jerseys. Picture is a little out of focus but you get the idea. Awesome!
From the Giants, got a couple of Y.A. Tittle autos, a Phil McConkey auto # 03 /25 (he was on one of those Giants’ Super Bowl teams in the 80’s). As far as I’ve seen, the autos in Absolute are all on stickers. Also got a very nice Sterling Sherpard dual relic # 23 /99 (feels like a helmet piece with a patch from a jersey or a glove).
From the Eagles, got a Carson Wentz purple parallel # 1 /5 (whoa!), a Jordan Matthews dual relic # 24 /25 (looks like a number patch and, well, something else), and a Shelton Gibson rookie auto #13/25.
Also got some base cards through these breaks (doubles not shown).
Third, since I am often content going for “second tier” items that mean something to me but not necessarily lots of other people, the prices of singles on eBay are pretty reasonable. Picked up two nice cards, around $10 each with the shipping. One was a Mark Gastineau auto # 05 /25. He was a key member of the NY Sack Exchange in the 80’s. 🙂 The other was an Amara Darboh Rookie Premiere three piece auto RC # 16 /99 (looks like a patch from a number, a piece of a football, and a piece from the nameplate). It’s a really nice card for one of the Hawks’ promising rookies. Don’t tell anybody I messed up one of the corners when I was putting it in a new sleeve and case, ugh. Anyhow, it’s still awesome and in fact the lettering glows an awesome rave green with the right lighting and view angles! 🙂
Finally, I kept going (why??? lol) and got four of the retail deluxe boxes (40 cards each, $39.99 + tax). One small relic and one auto each, all decent rookies. A fair number of inserts but only four packs per box so very heavy on base (as stated on the package). Not that bad but not worth the cost in my opinion.
Of course, I wasn’t really done! As a crazy person (lol), I’d like to complete the base set 1-100 via trading or buying. So… I got a single retail pack, $2.99 +tax for ten cards. Actually got 6 of the 24 base cards that I was looking for and that ninth Rookie Roundup insert that I wanted! Also got three doubles. Nice pack 🙂 I have many many doubles triples quadruples etc. so I’m hoping to trade for the remaining 18 base cards.
Overall I really like Absolute. As far as I can tell, the hobby and retail inserts are very similar (perhaps with variance in colors on parallels, odds per pack, etc.). However, the autos and relic cards I’ve seen in the hobby boxes are far superior, with a wider array of styles, veterans mixed in with the rookies, more low # cards, and much nicer relic pieces. I think the difference in “quality” between the hobby and retail boxes is very significant in this release, and would recommend a case break, hobby box, or singles on eBay. I give 2017 Absolute Football 4 out of 5 stars.