2013 Contenders Football: Rare Rookies Take Center Stage

Now that Contenders has been out, its really cool seeing how engaged people are with a set like this. Honestly, the last time we saw this type of action was with 2013 Chrome, and this might even be eclipsing that from initial movement on the cards. With Chrome, the bigger rookies in rare refractor form are the attraction, where as for Contenders, they are almost a side show. The main event in the first few weeks are speculation on the SSPs, and it goes double time when the main class is weak.

Right now, you can buy almost any of the base rookie auto cards for under 100 bucks. That will only drop as the product ages, as the class has no real superstar players. Although the rarer parallels will still get some nice value, the main hits will these other rookies who have yet to have many autograph cards.

Here are some of the bigger cards already posted:

2013 Panini Contenders Eddie Lacy Variation Auto Ticket

2013 Panini Contenders EJ Manuel Auto Ticket RC

2013 Panini Contenders Keenan Allen Auto Ticket Variation RC

2013 Panini Contenders Mike Glennon Auto Ticket RC

Outside of those players we already know, I put together a target list of players that may be unnoticed until recently. These players’ biggest cards may be in this product, so this is the chance to get in.

Zac Stacy

The Rams running game was a complete question mark early in the season, even more after Daryl Richardson went out. Zac Stacy took over and delivered a dark horse ROY season, much to the surprise of everyone. His first autos didnt show up until very late in the year, and Contenders will be the biggest of those autos. This is one guy I would check out – dont let the redemptions scare you as the cards should already be done.

2013 Panini Contenders Zac Stacy Auto Ticket RC

2013 Panini Contenders Zac Stacy Auto Ticket Variation RC

Kiko Alonso

Being a defensive player, Alonso was not a big focus of the 2013 sets. He wasnt a late round pick, but he played better than just about anyone. I would guess he is a favorite for 2013 defensive rookie of the year, and should be a great player for a long time. His autos started showing up only recently, and like Stacy, this is his biggest so far.

2013 Panini Contenders Kiko Alonso Auto Ticket RC

2013 Panini Contenders Kiko Alonso Playoff Auto Ticket RC /99

Matt McGloin

Like many teams, the Raiders had issues at quarterback this year, as Terrelle Pryor played up and down, and Matt Flynn was not playing up to his potential. McGloin stepped in and played adequately enough for a guy of his pedigree, and could end up as a guy fighting for a starting job next year. Being that he was never on anyone’s radar, he didnt have a card, let alone an auto until now.

2013 Panini Contenders Matt McGloin Championship Ticket Auto 1/1

2013 Panini Contenders Matt McGloin Auto Ticket RC

Marlon Brown

Not a favorite player of mine because of the last second TD he scored to beat my Vikings. Outside of that, he put together a tremendous campaign, and should be someone that Ravens collectors are chasing with this release. Because he wasnt a top pick, he didnt have any autos until recently, despite the fact he almost led the rookies with receiving TDs over the year.

2013 Panini Contenders Marlon Brown Cracked Ice Auto Ticket /21

2013 Panini Contenders Marlon Brown Auto Ticket RC

Kenbrell Thompkins

The Patriots were getting people off the street to catch passes this year, and as a result, Thompkins got a huge amount of snaps while they figured out their starting guys. He played VERY well before getting hurt, and should be a part of the offense for the future of the team. He has had autos in a good portion of the products in the second half of the year, but nothing of this impact. Playoff push could help these cards as well.

2013 Panini Contenders Kenbrell Thompkins Auto Playoff Ticket /99

2013 Panini Contenders Kenbrell Thompkins Auto Ticket RC

Joseph Fauria

I rarely talk about tight ends unless they are superstar players like Graham or Witten, and Fauria isnt on that level yet. Although he had a few autos in Platinum, this is one of his first autos since the season started. He caught a bunch of TDs in Detroit, and will likely take over as a starter in the next year or two. His contenders auto may be an SP, which only adds to the value.

2013 Panini Contenders Joseph Fauria Auto Ticket RC

Ill have more information as the SSP list comes into focus, but I am very much enjoying the ticket autos of this set. Outside of that, it might be a train wreck, but these are great looking cards.

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