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Summer of Sequels

Which ones interest you, and which ones will you skip?

As usual, movie-goers are being given plenty of sequels to watch, with mixed results. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” was well-received, the latest Avatar movie grossed more than two billion dollars globally, and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is a critical and box-office hit.

Others, not so much. The latest “Shazam!” was a flop, “The Flash” was a bust, and the latest Indiana Jones film is going to lose millions for Disney (despite being a decent movie, to be honest). Some sequels are valuable hits, and some are costly disasters. And as a fantasy manager, you’ll have your own sequels to evaluate in a couple of months.

Like I wrote last week, it’s too early to do a ton of heavy research. With so many camp battles and other variables still to be resolved, today’s rankings could look comical in a few weeks. But you can (and should) start to form general thoughts about what stories you’ll be buying and which ones you want to pass on to your opponents instead.

For example, “Russell Wilson in Denver, Part II” is something I’m interested in checking out. The original was awful, but a new director in Sean Payton might turn things around. I’m not expecting a blockbuster, but I think it could be worth some attention.

On the other hand, “Patriots Without Brady, Vol. 4” doesn’t look to be much more interesting than the last three installments. Hard pass, direct to video, and ignore.

I know people expect “Aaron Rodgers with the Jets” to be a big draw, and maybe it will be. But I think it’s going to be a major disappointment. Rodgers has been more careless with the football, and he has an injury history. The defense is much better than he had in Green Bay, but the running game is worse. And the division is probably harder. And his teams tend to start kind of slow, anyway. Even if he makes it through the season (and I have my doubts) I don’t see it going the way many people expect. I’m not that interested in this sequel. My opponents are welcome to him.

Same with “DeAndre Hopkins’ New City.” He seems to be narrowing it down to teams that have very little going for them offensively. If you look at the last page of this year’s Fantasy Index, you’ll see that I said Hopkins would be Kansas City’s best receiver. That was submitted a while ago, but I decided to make a prediction and put it in ink. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But if he’s just going to be a big fish in a small pond, I’ll pass. I’d like him in PPR, but not as early as he’ll be taken. At least not unless he signs with KC, which would make me look like a genius and put him in position for solid numbers.

As for “Travis Kelce, Part 11,” I’m still watching, but I’m nervous. At some point, this long-running franchise is going to end. I just don’t know when. I probably won’t get a chance at him, which is great. It would be nice if my league mates make that decision for me.

By the way, I’m all in on “Marvin Harrison: The Next Generation.” I know that doesn’t come out until next year, but I’m already convinced.

So what’s the point of this exercise? Well, if I know I’m not buying into New England from a fantasy perspective, I’m not worried about the quarterback, whatever tight end looks like the starter, the receivers, or the kicker. If they’re not named “Rhamondre Stevenson” I’m not wasting time on them. That determination will save me even more time when it comes down to actually doing the research and ranking players.

You can’t really get too deep into your research today. But you can save yourself some time later by figuring out what stories you’re buying, and which ones you want to avoid. I’m not feeling great about the Jets (especially early in the season) or the Raiders. So in a few weeks, I’ll know where to avoid wasting my energy. I’ll focus on the teams and players I think can help me win.

Now, could I be wrong? Sure. Rodgers could make Jets football relevant again, and turn them into true contenders. And that would probably mean my fantasy team suffered from my strategy. But I’m still a football fan, and it would be fun to see. Besides, if you’re too worried about being wrong, you’ll never commit fully to a strategy that could win you a title.

Hopefully, you’ll find a few things that you like, and a few you don’t. Your strategy will start to take shape, and you’ll feel good about the work you’ll be putting in soon. And for July, that’s not bad. Better than Shazam! anyway.

Any stories you’re definitely buying for the upcoming season? Any you’ve already rejected? Share your thoughts below.

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