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Football Card Bargains

Contributor: John Dudley

The NFL Playoffs are off to a great start and that’s got fans excited. While it is tempting to go out and buy cards of the players putting up big postseason numbers, buying at the peak of playoff hype leads to overpaying and regret. Unless you are lucky and hit killer Purdy cards in a break, focusing on another sport this time of year isn’t a bad idea but it’s not particularly fun. Instead, I tend to concentrate on players who either missed the playoffs or players who have recently been eliminated. 

This approach brings bargains galore and can save you 30%or even more of what you might’ve paid just a month ago. This week I’m going to look at six players that are on the outside looking in that you can snag some deals on. 

Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks are the bread and butter of 90% of football collectors. I figured Russell Wilson would make this list, but it looks like he is already getting targeted as his cards have gone up over the last month according to Card Ladder’s Player Index (most data in this article comes from that). Instead, I’m going to focus on one legend and one flyer. 

1. Aaron Rodgers is a no-question Hall of Famer. Packers fans will be seeking his cards for years to come. His cards have dropped over 25% over the past month and almost 50% in the past six months. For me, this means it is time to buy. I’m not sure Rodgers will ever show that on-field MVP magic again, but he should improve over what was expected to be a rebuilding year for the Packers to begin with. I’m bullish on Rodgers as his prices are lower than they have been in two years.

2. Derrick Carr. Ok, hear me out on this one before you call me crazy.  Two of the biggest gainers this year percentage-wise this year were Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones. I think it likely that there will be a big gainer from the ranks of the overlooked quarterbacks next year and Carr is rumored to have a new home next year getting him out of a bad situation. I think he can succeed immediately on either the Jets or Commanders and while I don’t think he’ll ever be a marquee guy, I do think there is a lot of room for his cards to grow next season. Personally, I’d rather buy a few cheap Carr cards than one expensive Justin Fields one. Carr’s Prizm PSA 10 RC went for only $70 the last time it sold. 

Honorable Mention: Jared Goff

Running Backs

While they used to be hobby darlings, running backs have lost their luster in both the NFL and the hobby. That said, there are still some great ones and a change of scenery or schemes can have one successful enough to get the notice of the collector world.

1. Nick Chubb quietly had another great season on the woeful Browns. Hopefully, by next year Deshaun Watson will have shaken off the rust and the Browns will be relevant. Even if the Browns falter, I expect Chubb to continue to be the poster boy of consistency and produce decent stats. Saquon Barkley is splashier, but I’d argue that Chubb is the best overall back of the last five years. His cards spiked this year showing that collectors are just waiting on signs of life from the Browns to jump on the Chubb bandwagon. His cards are back to levels that make him one of the most undervalued players in the league.

2. Derrick Henry’s cards are actually up a bit over the last month, but they are dropping and will likely continue to do so as the postseason rolls on. Henry is the only surefire Hall of Fame running back getting regular playing time in the league right now. It seems unfathomable, but I would not be shocked to see Henry get traded in the offseason if the Titans decide to go into full rebuild mode. If not, I expect them to bet the house on this upcoming season. Either way, Henry should see improved circumstances in 2023. He’s undervalued, to begin with so enjoy the dip in his prices as a bonus.

Wider Receivers

Top-flight pass catchers are getting the hobby attention that running backs used to get. The league is chock full of talented young receivers so it can be hard to pick one that stands out but these two both have a shot for bigger seasons in 2023 and have already shown that they can be the number one option on a team.

1. Amon Ra St. Brown had a strong 2022. The question is if he can take another step forward in 2023. I think he can and his prices make him a bargain compared to some of the more hyped young receivers. He’s great to hit in breaks as the Lions are rarely pricy and his nicer singles are also still affordable. You can still pick up a wide variety of desirable PSA 10 graded parallels for under $100 without much difficulty.

2. Terry McLaurin might be the best receiver in the NFL. It’s hard to tell as he has yet to play with a decent quarterback. Even with the Commanders’ woes, he has put up strong numbers each season. His quarterback situation should improve next year, and he is poised to have a breakout season. His stats in the down years mean that he can jump on the HOF path with little resistance making him a potential bargain at current pricing. You can find a wide variety of his autographed rookies for under $50. Shoot, a Contenders Auto went for only $31 recently!

Honorable Mention: Cooper Kupp

Wrap Up

That’s six guys that you can get at a discount but there are plenty of others worthy of picking up. What players are you picking up in the postseason? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you haven’t checked out the insanely useful Card Shop Live app, what are you waiting for? It’s great for breaks, personal rips, singles, and hobby info. The breakers are all heavily vetted so no shenanigans here.

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