This 2020 NFL campaign has been a wild one to say the least for the sports card market. Injuries have crippled card prices of superstars and unknowns have burst onto the scene almost weekly. So let us look back at some of the highlights from the first half and what we can expect headed into the playoffs.
Dak Prescott was one of the hottest QBs coming into the season. He lived up to the hype until Week 5’s horrible injury. We saw his 2016 Prizm rookie PSA 10 peak around $1,500 in mid-September, and we just had a $405 sale today. This is insane volatility and some pundits might say, “well that’s why you don’t invest in football”. This is a one off. The Quarterback position is one of the most coveted and highly collected positions in the sport and one reason is because the REFS PROTECT them.
Let us take a look at another player; Saquon Barkley. Barkley likely ruined a lot of your 2020 fantasy teams as well, when he went down early in the 2020 campaign with an ACL injury in Week 2. There was a lot of hype surrounding Saquon leading up to the season. We saw his 2018 Prizm PSA 10 sell for around $125 in July, peak around $425 in early September, then plummet again to $142 after today’s sale. Case in point, injuries do happen and we’ve seen our fair share of them this year. I, for one, am not scared off by this and you should not be either. There are plenty of opportunities to invest before, during, and after an NFL season.
On the positive and optimistic side, let’s take a peek at some of the bright spots so far this year. We should look no further than the continued development of Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, and DK Metcalf. Both these young QBs have been nothing but spectacular and their card prices reflect this. DK has taken the league by storm and might be cementing himself as the next great WR in the NFL. DK was productive in his first season last year, but what he and his card prices have achieved this year so far, is remarkable. Back in July you could have bought a 2019 Prizm PSA 10 Metcalf for around $100. He has steadily gone up into the season and continued this with his play. Currently his base PSA 10’s are selling for right around $300… oh and he is a Wide Receiver.
We’ve seen players like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers continue to show they are the Elite QBs of today and their card prices remain steady. I want to focus on the outstanding play of rookies Chase Claypool, Justin Herbert, Justin Jefferson, and Joe Burrow (now also out for the year) for a second. Every year we see rookies come into the league and a few light it up and make people really go crazy from a Hobby standpoint. I genuinely feel that what Herbert is doing with the Chargers (Go Chiefs!) is something we haven’t seen in years for a rookie QB. The number of 3+ TD games he has already earned is truly remarkable. The Chargers aren’t doing well as a team (3-7). That, plus being in the same division as the Chiefs, is holding back his hobby prices. I have always kind of shied away from investing in Rookies year one. I prefer the wait and see approach, getting a feel of their abilities for at least a season before I buy up before year two.
So as a fan and collector at heart, turned investor, we have to look long term sometimes. The NFL playoffs are approaching and we are starting to see teams establish themselves as contenders and pretenders. We are about to see the Browns make the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades. The Ravens look nothing like the same Ravens of last year. The Chiefs and Steelers look unstoppable and are my odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl. I will always put my money on the QBs of the favored teams in hopes they make a deep playoff run. However, judging by last year’s collapse of Lamar Jackson’s prices after their disappointing early playoff bounce, I am rethinking a few things. Lamar was an electric player, but his value at the time was sky high. He potentially already had a Super Bowl win baked into the prices.
Football is no different than any other sport, when the right player or team gets hot, the star players cards will BOOM to unfathomable valuation. Then, if and when they exit the playoffs, they will crash and crash hard. This hobby suffers severely from the “out of sight, out of mind” complex. Since the NFL doesn’t have a series like MLB, NBA, or NHL, there isn’t really time to see the writing on the wall, and exit. So when players do get bounced, prices tend to not recover until next year, which presents buying opportunities in the offseason for savvy investors. So maybe don’t focus so much on who you think will make the Super Bowl, but look at players that you see will be good for a long time. Take Josh Allen and Kyler Murray for example. Nobody is predicting the Bills or Cardinals to make a deep playoff run. However, these are a young up and coming QBs who have star potential. Look to capitalize when these teams miss or get bounced from the Playoffs this year.
So, before you just give up on the NFL and jump ship to the NBA (though you should have both), remember there is still a TON of NFL games left. Position yourself in the best possible way to capitalize on the playoff rush. We know which teams are likely to get in and we know these teams have superstars that everyone loves. No matter your appetite for risk or your investment strategy, there is money to be made.
Justin – Co-founder, Sell The Peak