The National Card Show: Day 1 Reports and News

The National delivered a few surprises yesterday, as expected. Unfortunately, most of the suprises were underwhelming at best, and yet were blown up like it was an earth shattering annoucement. Thus is the nature of the almighty NSCC, I guess, so here are some recaps about what was happening in Baltimore for opening night.

I think the biggest “news” was the annoucement that Brian Gray has bought all non-baseball brands from Razor, and then resurrected the Leaf brand in the place that was then left empty. This was basically a complicated, yet uncomplicated name change, and people are extremely excited over absolutely nothing. Leaf has been a property of DLP for the last however many years, and even then, it was kind of “meh.” True, Leaf is back as a separate entity, but I don’t see why that is such a huge deal. I think the bigger deal will turn out to be the first MMA set they are releasing and the partnership with Muhammad Ali to release sets under his company name. But, as with any products under a newer company, the final product will be the judge, jury and executioner.

We also saw that Topps looks to be planning a huge celebration for their 60th anniversary of their brand, and if the 50th anniversary is any indication, it should be significant in their entire 2011 line. Im guessing we will have all sorts of retro stuff and throwback sets, but unlike the 50th, the emergence of products from the Topps high end stash will probably destroy any hope of a cool end to the party.

Speaking of Topps, the Strasburg redemption looks to be as popular as everyone thought it would be, even prompting DA Cardworld to offer 80 bucks on the spot for someone looking to sell. I personally think that is way too low to even consider, but its funny that there is an offer like that from a place like DA. Regardless, there have been a few reports of how off center the cards were, so Im guessing BGS is just going to have to put all of them at a 9.5 instead of a 10, right?

In the Game also announced that it was going to be releasing a baseball prospect and heroes product, but as with all of their stuff, it will be unlicensed. Oddly, one of the cards looks identical to 2008 Sweet Spot Baseball, so im not sure how that got through. Heyward and a few others will be signing for the product, and if their popularity in hockey holds true to this product, it could do okay.

As for the show itself, it seems like prices are absolutely ridiculous, as most shows are. Jeremy sent me an email from the floor with all sorts of funny asking prices for cards priced according to Book Value. My favorite was the guy who was selling all sorts of high end autos and was asking more than 250 dollars over ebay selling price. That is waaaaay too much of a mark up, even for a show like this.

Lastly, I have already gotten five or so emails from readers trolling the floor and seeing all sorts of fake patches and fake autos. This is one of the main reasons I have decided to avoid shows in general, mainly because I have gotten the idea that the sellers at the shows will do whatever it takes to make money. This includes defrauding people with cards they obviously know arent real.

Also, if you have further stuff from the show you want to report, let me know at the email above, I am always up for a good national card show story.

The NFL Season Ends On Highs and Lows

Wow, I didnt understand how crazy it could get in the AFC, and it doesnt look like things are even close to being done yet. There were sure some weird decisions all around, the Patriots, Eagles, and Cowboys, all with possible detrimental choices to say the least.

Chris Johnson
What a freak, the guy was just lightning AND thunder this year, and I am very glad that he got to 2000 yards. Not only because my two Chris Johnson auto auctions should do a little better, but because I think he proved that you dont have to be a huge guy to be successful in this league. He showed week after week that he is a force to be reckoned with, thus cementing his place atop the yardage list as well as next years fantasy drafts.
Wes Welker
A lot of people questioned teams starting their guys without a purpose, and Wes Welker looks to have taken the brunt of the punishment. He tore multiple ligaments in his knee and may have taken the Patriots playoff hopes down with him. Brady also has a broken finger, and all of it did not prevent the Pats from sitting their guys in a meaningless game.
Minnesota Vikings
When you pitch a virtual shut out of the Giants banged up offense, no one really thinks much of it. However when you have to go to the dome two weeks from now and its louder than an airport runway during rush hour, it becomes apparent that it was not a good thing for the opposing teams. Philly ended up being killed at Dallas, so the road to the super bowl will go through two domed stadiums, one where the Vikings have gone 8-0. Favre also rested much of the second half, and now the Vikings look like they have a shot again. I love it.
Im not sure if its very clear anymore, especially with how Favre has played in the last two halves. He ended up with over 4000 yards and 30 TDs while throwing fewer than 10 interceptions and leading his team to the two seed. He played every game, and we all know the hard on that the sports writers have for his success. Manning and Brees are pretty much a toss up other than the Favre factor, and I could even seen Chris Johnson win in a split decision. Absolutely crazy for sure, but I am eager to see how it turns out.
Im not as sure as I once was that Harvin will walk away with it, but he is the odds on Favorite right now. If Sanchez rolls over the Bengals tonight, he could be back in it, and so may some of the other guys. Harvin’s contributions to his team were greater than many of the other rookies combined, although Austin Collie, Knowshon Moreno, and Mike Wallace have made their cases as well. Another good battle to see who takes it home.
Denver Broncos
Its been six years since a team started with six wins and missed the playoffs, but Denver sure looked very much like their brown throwback unis in the KC game this week. Im not sure how you can justify benching Marshall, even with the attitude problems, and losing to the Chiefs only makes that worse. Oddly enough, the last team to do what the Broncos did were the Vikings, and trust me, Im sure the Broncos fans are just as fucking pissed as I was in 2003.
Week 19
We could easily be headed for a Packers/Vikings III in two weeks, and I can only imagine what the media blitz is going to be like. Even though the Vikings decidedly beat the Packers twice this year, its far from the truth to think they are the same teams they were so many weeks ago. If the Packers beat the Cardinals like they should, I would expect a hard fought game come two weeks in the dome. Although I think the Vikings still have the firepower to win, it wont be as easy as it was in the beginning of the season.
Saints lose again
Although Drew Brees sat this game out, The Saints are no longer invincible, and could have trouble waltzing into town on the back of Tony Romo. Remember, the Cowboys beat the Saints down from their undefeated pedestal, and it could be hard to avenge that loss looking like the Saints have in recent contests. They will be playing at home, but look for some fireworks regardless if its Philly or Dallas coming to Louisiana.
Rams Secure Number 1 Pick
Whether its Ndamukong Suh or Jimmy Claussen, the Rams are drafting at the top in March. Because of a new regime in St Louis, I look for the Rams to stupidly chase a franchise QB rather than going for a beast in Suh or a Tackle to shore up their line. I just dont think you can justify a top pick regardless of the way you go due to the way that players can bust at a moments notice these days, but I do think you have to at least think of what your team could be missing if you choose someone like Bradford or Claussen at number one.
I dont ever remember there being this many rematches on wild card weekend. Packers/Cardinals, Jets/Bengals, and Eagles/Cowboys are all week 17 rematches, and I cannot fathom what the odds are on that. It created a horrible atmosphere for some of the teams, as the routs were on in every one of the games. Whether its the coaches not trying to tip their hands, or just laying it down all together, the three games next week will be that much different than it was this time around. Not only because of the importance of the games, but because the teams will actually play their guys.
In closing, I am fucking sad that football season is over, as this is always my favorite time of year. Granted it is less than 50 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, but honestly, I couldnt care less right now. I am hoping for a fun playoffs starting next week, and after that I will enter my usual depression until the draft in March. At least its been a good season with no regrets for me, and I wish you all good luck in following your teams.

Rookie Battle Royale: Week 10

Another week for the NFL, another good week by a few of the rookies who werent doing so well before. With both undefeated teams staying undefeated, the rookies werent as much of a focus as usual, but they definitely didn’t sleep the week away either.

Josh Freeman

Coming off the game of his life in his first start last week against the Packers, there were high expectations this week for him against a struggling Dolphins team. Freeman did not play half as well as he did in his debut, and the Dolphins took it on the last play of the game. He threw for 196 yards, a TD and an interception, but had four fumbles with one lost. Not great.

Mark Sanchez

Sanchez played like a rookie again this week, with a very mediocre game against a team they should have beat. This now shows that he is human after all, with more games this year on the rookie side than the spectacular side. He threw 2 interceptions and a touchdown, as well as 212 yards, so it wasn’t all that wonderful of a game for him. This should make it interesting come the end of the year ROY voting.

Matt Stafford

Of the three rookie QBs, Stafford had arguably the best game against the best team. On 51 throws, he didn’t have a pick, which is pretty good considering that last time he played the Vikings he threw 3. He was sacked 4 times, but really it was more of a receiver issue than anything. The guys he was throwing to also dropped 8 passes, so that will hurt in the long run. Stafford ended up with 224 yards and a TD. Not bad.

Beanie Wells

Finally, after nine weeks, Beanie had a really good game, best of the week for the rookie running backs. He had 85 yards and 2 TDs, which was only the second 2 TD game of the year for rookie RBs. His YPC avg, a concern in previous weeks was up considerably (5.3 this week), and he didn’t look lost out there in a nice Cardinals win. Beanie still has a long way to go, but things are starting to improve.

Jeremy Maclin

Maclin is quietly putting together a great rookie campaign. He led all rookie WRs with 76 yards, as well as a touchdown, which makes his second consecutive with a score. Maclin is playing on a team where he will need to be the top guy eventually, so he really needs to come through, and this game was another notch in the bed post for him.

Bernard Scott

If I told you at the beginning of the Cincy/Steelers game that Bernard Scott would be the MVP, you would have laughed me out of the building. Yet, with a HUGE kickoff return TD, he was the reason the Bengals won. So, Steelers fans, you have given up KR TDs to two rookies this year, who is next, haha?

Knowshon Moreno

Moreno had a good game this week, but the Broncos lost to a team that they should have killed. He had 104 total yards and 97 on the ground, so it was definitely a solid effort. I also didn’t see any huge fumbles, which Im sure was a sigh of relief for his fans, but the loss was more than a shock irregardless.

Johnny Knox

Knox went from the top of the game to being right where he was expected to be. On Thursday, he had his third game in a row where he did nothing, and this time the Bears needed a big play. Knox hasn’t caught more than two passes in any of the games of late, and he is going to need to step up if the bears are going to recover.

Percy Harvin

Harvin had 3 for 53, but most of those yards came on an amazing catch where he pinballed around and ran for forty yards. Harvin’s impact was minimal, but the Vikings didn’t really need it with Favre, Peterson and Rice playing like fucking beasts. Not the best game of the year, but that catch was pretty awesome considering the hit he took and still stayed up.

The Rookie Graveyard

Darrius Heyward-Bey – 1 for 20? C’mon Al Davis, you suck at drafting.

Michael Crabtree – Nothing still, needs at least a TD to be worth the hold out.

Brandon Pettigrew – Had a couple drops and no production again this week.

What We Learned From Monday Night

The Jets/Dolphins game was one of the better monday night games I have seen in a very long while. It was exciting, had a few trick plays, and featured some guys that many of us are counting on for our collections and/or fantasy teams. We also got to learn a few things about those guys, especially some of the people that are going to be some big players in the future.

Mark Sanchez
For the last few weeks, Sanchez is really playing like many expected him to play. He is inconsistent with flashes of brilliance. Last week he threw three picks and looked awful, this week he threw no interceptions, but looked okay. He did have a few plays taken away from him, mainly the late drop from Braylon Edwards in the endzone and a TD that was run in by Jones after a nice play by Sanchez previously that was called incomplete and a defensive penalty. Really, this game will do nothing for his values at the top of the class either way, so I wouldnt worry.
Chad Henne
I bought a few Henne cards last year because I didnt think that Pennington would hold as the Miami QB. Im glad I did, as he has adjusted well over the last few weeks to being a legit QB. Henne has gotten better with each game, going from zero TDs his first game, one his second game, to two TDs yesterday with 241 yards of passing. He must be beyond happy to have Ronnie Brown on his team, as he is not going to be anything special without him.
Ronnie Brown
After the Patriots game where the Wildcat came storming onto the scene, the entire league went nuts trying to stop it. They pretty much had suceeded in adjusting until last night when Ronnie Brown again showed why it is so dangerous. He made the Jets defense look silly for some of the plays, especially the last play where he scored the TD to win it. I would say that of all the people that played last night, Brown did the most to make the people around him better. When the Dolphins came out in the Wildcat, I could just see Rex Ryan start to freak.
Ricky Williams
I guess this idiot has put the days of rocking the ganja behind him. I started him due to a lack of options in one of my leagues, and I am fucking glad I did. Williams is having a phenomenal year, and has proven that he is ready to be a part of football again. Granted, he has greatly benefited from having Ronnie Brown ahead of him, but it is still impressive regardless.
Fake Punts
Holy fuck, fakes barely even work in Madden, let alone in the NFL, and somehow the Jets extended two drives with them. Both were runs, but I couldnt believe they even risked the second one considering the big conversion they had on the first. I definitely fault the Miami defensive coordinator for the ridiculous play they had on special teams, but it was surprising none-the-less.
Braylon Edwards
Edwards played great despite the fact that he had spent only a week with the team. If you remember what happened to Roy Williams when he came to Dallas last year, this game he had is day and night. Sanchez will have a great weapon as Edwards becomes more accustomed to the playbook, but he will have to play above his ability to shake the labels that have been stamped on his career lately.
(My bad the first time with this, thanks LSU)
If you missed the game, be sure to go check out the highlights on so that you can see how crazy it actually was. I dont think I have posted many times on a game that made no difference to one of my teams, but I felt compelled to after this one. Go take a look.
OH, I forgot: Dolphins Orange Alternates> Broncos AFL anniversary alternates > Seattle’s Neon Green Alternates.

NFL Rookie Battle Royale: Week 3

All of you know how awesome of a week this has been, especially with the Bungals beating the Steelers, Manning destroying the Cardinals on Sunday night, and the crazy ending to the Vikings game. The rookies decided to show up too, with a few of them having some great games.

Matt Stafford

How could I not lead with the Lions winning? Im still in shock that they were able to put it together for a full 60 minutes. Stafford played pretty well too, as he showed he is starting to gain that confidence he needs to grow in such a horrible offense. Stafford threw a TD that started everything off for the Lions, thus bringing his total to two in three games, but he didn’t throw an interception, so that is like icing on the cake for a rookie QB. I still say its not a good idea to hold his cards, but at least it’s a LITTLE more promising now that the streak is over.

Mark Sanchez

Sanchez played another great game and came away with another win. It was another great defense, the best arguably, but he was calm and collected even during a bad second half. He had a great TD pass to Cotchery in double coverage and ran one in from 14 out. He ended with with 3 total TDs and is making a few people wonder why they may have passed on him at picks 2-4 in the draft. Sanchez cards are at the peak of their value right now, so if you have them, it may be good to sell and rebuy later, if there is a later. Looks like he will be the Matt Ryan value of his class this year.

Percy Harvin

Harvin was great in the Vikings win, scoring his third TD in as many games. He played great during the second half especially, running back a kick 101 yards and catching some key passed on the final drive that led to the score. He ended up with his best game in terms of yardage, but the return was the spike the Vikings needed to stay in the game after being shut down time after time by the Niners’ Defense. Like Sanchez, Harvin’s cards are at the peak of their value, so it’s a great time to sell if you arent a fan.

LeSean McCoy

Im thinking that Brian Westbrook doesn’t feel so bad he missed that game anymore as McCoy sure picked up the slack with ease. The Eagles routed the Chiefs and McCoy got his first TD of the year. He also racked up 80+ yards and a YPC avg over four yards in the effort. McCoy should be pretty good in the long run, though he will always be overshadowed by Westbrook. Keep his cards for right now, as his value has a lot of potential to go up from here.

Knowshon Moreno

Welcome to the NFL Mr. Moreno. Nice to see you. Glad you put up 90 yards and a TD, bout time a running back in Denver does well, right? Knowshon looked pretty good in his first game with a focus over Buckhalter, and I would expect by week 8 he will have 70-80% of the carries. He is a great back, and should continue to put up numbers week after week. As with all the first round running backs, his value is high due to the Peterson effect, but as it starts to come down, it should be a good idea to pick some of his stuff up.

Donald Brown

That 72 yard scamper was pretty impressive wasn’t it? Well, it helped him put up the first 100 total yard game for a non-QB rookie this year, and jumped his value pretty high as a result. Brown doesn’t have the luxury of a huge college following like Wells, but he showed why he needs a pro following. Wells managed -2 yards on 2 carries, while Brown did great. This guy is a keeper.

Johnny Knox

Another game, another TD for Knox, despite the fact that it was his only catch of the game. He sure has been a pleasant surprise for the Bears, as the rest of their receiving corps is almost as inexperienced as he is. Because of the fact that he has done as well as he has, sell as fast as you can. Its not going to go much higher than it is unless he goes for 150 and three TDs somewhere later in the season. That’s a risk I would be willing to take.
The Rookie Graveyard

Here is where I want to talk about some rookies that Im sure are making a few of you guys pretty angry with their lack of contributions to their teams.

Jeremy Maclin – Where the hell have you been? Having 6 receptions for 46 yards on the season is a crap start for a guy I thought would be the star receiver of his class. Wow.

Darrius Heyward-Bey – Im sure having a QB like Jamarcus Russell is a contributing factor, but 1 reception for 18 yards on the whole year is poop. We all know he shouldn’t have been drafted so high, but hot damn, get moving!

Beanie Wells – I think a lot of people are pretty happy that Beanie isnt doing great so far. They say he was a beneficiary of playing at OSU, and it may be starting to show.

Hakeem Nicks – 2 receptions for 19? Doing worse than Hey Bey, but his team doesn’t need him as much. EDIT: Looks like he was injured week 1, my page on didnt show that, my fault on this one…

Next week is looking pretty good, especially with Harvin going up against the Packers on Monday night. Now that the rookies are pretty secure in their roles, it could be interesting to see how values respond. Glen Coffee will have his first game against a defense that he can take advantage of, and may have a great game in Gore’s absence, Sanchez looks like he may be in for his first test as he faces the Saints, and with the Bears going up against Detroit, who knows.

Also, be sure to check out my rookie of the week write up on the Upper Deck Blog as soon as the player is announced. You can also enter your cards to track the performances of a few of the guys I talk about here and possibly win some prizes if you have the ROW in your portfolio. Pretty cool.

Even if the rookies didn’t come to play, this season has still been a great ride so far. I hope it will continue to be as exciting as it has been, as there have already been some great stories. Next week is when things start to get interesting, so don’t miss it under any circumstances. Trust me, it only gets better from here.