Under Market Value: Players That Deserve More Hobby Love

Right now, the NFL “recent release” card market is about as soft as I have ever seen it. Unless you are dealing in proven champions and iconic rookie cards from the last few years, the market just isnt performing that great. The wheeling and dealing of top performers has left football in a lot of ways. This is troubling with some of the exciting rookies and recent stars that have been playing out of their mind.

After seeing a few guys blast off in the first few weeks of the 2015 season, there might be some indication that things could be turning around. Even more impressive is that most of them are not QBs, which have become the only position left that holds any value. All of these guys are still massively undervalued to me.

Devonta Freeman – RB, Falcons

The Falcons have had a renaissance under Dan Quinn, highlighted by stellar play from their defense, and of course Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones. During his rookie year, Freeman sat relatively unused behind Stephen Jackson and Jaquizz Rodgers, but this year, he has seen the bulk of the carries. He has 7 TDs so far, and leads the league in just about every category.

Much to my amazement, collectors have yet to catch on:

2014 Immaculate Devonta Freeman Rookie Auto Patch

2014 Topps Chrome Devonta Freeman Camo Auto /99

2014 Contenders Devonta Freeman Cracked Ice RC Auto

Todd Gurley – RB, Rams

There really hasnt been an answer of how to stop Gurley since the Rams have put him into full rotation. In his last two games, he has rushed for over 140 yards each, giving us a good picture of why he was drafted so high. Although he has yet to find the endzone, his production has been nothing short of amazing.

Collectors have been high on him for a while, but his give up signature has kept prices lower:

2015 Topps Todd Gurley Auto 1987 Super Rookie /25

2015 Donruss Elite Todd Gurley / Marshall Faulk Passing the Torch Dual Auto

2015 Inception Todd Gurley Gold Signature Auto 25/25

Andy Dalton – QB, Bengals

There has been no QB that received more criticism with their new deal than the Red Rifle. He has shown that he has been worth the money and then some, putting up MVP caliber numbers so far. Because of his lack of success in the playoffs, collectors still havent bought in, but they might have no choice but to take notice if the Bengals keep playing the way they do.

Here are some of the nicer Dalton cards:

2011 Topps Chrome Andy Dalton Atomic Refractor Auto

2014 Flawless Andy Dalton Jumbo Patch Auto /15

2014 National Treasures Andy Dalton Notable Nicknames Auto

DeAndre Hopkins – WR, Texans

Look, I understand the Texans havent done so well on the scoreboard. That being said, Hopkins has played like the Andre Johnson of old, with some insane numbers. Like Gurley, collectors havent put much stock into his cards because of what his role was and his give up autograph, and I am sure that might start to change now that he is playing better than most of the top flight receivers out there. Might not be much of an increase until the Texans start winning, but he is having himself a season, regardless of Ws and Ls.

Check out his cards:

2013 Topps Finest DeAndre Hopkins Jumbo Patch Auto Pulsar Refractor /25

2013 Contenders DeAndre Hopkins Rookie Ticket Auto

2013 Crown Royale DeAndre Hopkins Silhouette Patch Auto

There is no guarantee that these players will continue playing at this high a level, but for most of them, you can buy them cheap enough that it wont matter. I rarely use the word investment with cards anymore, but if you are looking to pick up a few new PC players, these are a good bet.

SCU Go Live Report: 2015 Gridiron Kings Football

Let me start by saying I was pretty impressed with Diamond Kings baseball, despite the fact that it was unlicensed by MLB and stocked to the brim with sticker autographs. At 65 bucks it was a fun break that had some really nice looking cards. When I saw they were going to try it with Football, I was intrigued, but ended up horribly unimpressed with the sell sheet. Now that I have seen it live in action, my unimpressed reaction seems to have been the right one.

Here are some of the cards already up:

2015 Gridiron Kings Marcus Mariota Relic Auto RC

2015 Gridiron Kings Ben Roethlisberger Stat Kings Auto

2015 Gridiron Kings Brett Favre Sovereign Signatures Auto Patch

2015 Gridiron Kings JJ Watt Stat Kings Auto Red Parallel

When all is said and done, Gridiron Kings will be as forgettable as any other product Panini has put out, save Donruss. Its odd, because I think Donruss was probably the best product they have put out this year. As for this, not so much. Hey, at least its not as bad as Spectra though, right? It cant be that bad can it? Well, maybe if they put the wrong player on the wrong card.

What will make this so forgettable is that this is ANOTHER Panini product without on card rookie content, adding to a laundry list of shitty products that might have been a tad better if Panini had put some effort into the planning and exectuion. Similarly, the design work features some of their typical facepalm inducing fails, including ignorant idolization of illigitimate illustrious idiocy in action. Huge typefaces and fonts, awkward posed photography, and alliteration based set names are all in play for this set, and that is just PURE Panini.

This could have been a great looking product that used a lot of great looking designs to succeed where baseball could not. Instead its just another throwaway. Dont even get me started on the Super Bowl autos, which seem to be wasted on a product like this. They dont even fit, and yet they are included because Panini obviously knows nothing in this set is really worthy of buying a box.

People have asked me more times than I can count on my hands and feet why the Football Market is so soft. Sets like this are a good indication of why the situation looks so grim. Uninspired examples of football sets, coupled with lack of execution will always lead to poor sales. To think, this is in a year where Panini doesnt even have to build that many more products to replace the pure shittiness of sets they canned last year. I cannot wait to see what they do when they have to come out with a new one each week next year to hit their minimum guarantees promised to the NFLPA on a deal they dramatically overpaid for.

MLB Playoffs Bring New Superstars to the Hobby

We are two games into the playoffs and already we have seen what some of the new big names of the hobby can bring. Some of these guys have been around for a while before catching fire, while others are brand new. This will happen all post season, so be prepared for some major spikes in value that may never be replicated again. Right David Freese?

Jake Arrieta – P, Chicago Cubs

ERA has become one of those stats that people arent valuing as much these days, much like Wins. Arrieta’s feat of having an ERA of less than 1 after the All Star Break is still impressive regardless. Last night, Arrieta was lights out, as expected, and led the Cubs to a complete game shut out in arguably the most important game in the last 10-15 years for his team. Sadly, he has had NO licensed autographs, period. His rookie autos are all from Elite or Just Minors, and that sucks. Either way, the cards have started to come up even further than they already have during his Cy Young consideration.

Here are some of the top cards:

2008 Bowman Sterling Jake Arrieta USA Auto Relic

2008 Bowman Chrome Jake Arrieta XFractor RC BGS 9.5

2007 Elite Extra Edition Jake Arrieta Auto RC

Kyle Schwarber – C, Chicago Cubs

Amid the monster hobby campaign for his teammate, Schwarber had a STELLAR rookie season. Monster in some senses. Last night, his two hits put the Cubs ahead, with 3 RBIs and a 2 run HR. This guy is looking to be one of those prototypical power hitters, and at a position that rarely has those types of players. His Chrome autos are already up over 100, but there could be room for a higher ceiling if he plays this well in the next few games too.

Unlike the others on this post, he is well represented:

2014 Bowman Chrome Kyle Schwarber Auto Red Refractor BGS 9.5

2014 Bowman Chrome Kyle Schwarber Auto Refractor RC

2015 Bowman Chrome Kyle Schwarber Purple Refractor Auto BGS 9.5

Dallas Keuchel – P, Houston Astros

There were a handful of guys in the AL that had a season like Keuchel did, and his performance in the Wild Card game was a showcase of exactly how awesome he has been playing. Not only was he on short rest, but he still managed to go out there and shut down a VERY potent lineup. The Astros could have a long stretch of great seasons ahead of them if Keuchel and the rest of their young core continues to light it up. He only has a few licensed autographs, but like Arrieta, has no Chrome auto RC. Really too bad in that situation.

Here are his top cards:

2009 Bowman Chrome Dallas Keuchel Gold Refractor RC /50

2014 Topps Supreme Dallas Keuchel Auto Base

2015 Diamond Kings Dallas Keuchel Auto Dual Relic

There will be plenty of time for more heroes to emerge, and like Allen Craig and the like, they could only shine bright for one night. For a hobby built around nostalgia, that might be all it takes.


Where Do We Stand With 2015 NFL Rookies?

We are now a quarter of the way through the 2015 season, and through that time, we have gotten a pretty clear picture of early impact for the top rookies of the year. As expected, certain rookies have been able to showcase why they were drafted so high, while others have struggled. As a whole, the football market remains pretty soft, and I dont see that changing anytime soon – much to my dismay.

Jameis Winston

When the Buccaneers drafted him, it was clear that he was going to have his work cut out for him. The offensive line was among the worst in the league, and his running game was practically non-existent. The hobby was high on his potential because of his performances in college, but his first few games have not shown anything to get really excited about. I would normally say we should wait before jumping to conclusions, but this is a hobby that rarely provides any respite from criticism and its relationship to value.

2015 Immaculate Jameis Winston Auto Variation /5

2015 Inception Jameis Winston Silver Signatures Auto RC

2015 Topps Jameis Winston 1987 Super Rookie Auto /25

Marcus Mariota

Unlike Winston and the learning curve that was going to be necessary for him to succeed, the Titans built a very simple offense for Mariota to thrive within. Shorter throws, high completion percentage, etc, all with the idea of using the system he was successful with in College. His 4 TD performance in week one catapulted him into the hobby stratosphere, but he also played reasonably well in the next two games. He has 8 TDs to 2 picks, and for a rookie that is very good news.

2015 Topps Marcus Mariota Signature Series Auto SSP

2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Marcus Mariota Auto RC

2015 Topps Marcus Mariota Rookie Premiere Auto

Amari Cooper

I was high on him coming out of college, and other than Mariota, Cooper looks to be the top valued rookie in the class. His cards have sold EXTREMELY well for a WR, and his stats show that he is performing better than most rookie receivers play. His 24 receptions leads the rookie class, as does his 2 TDs. The hobby loves what he brings to a popular team, and I expect he might come out of this class as one of the more prominent names.

2015 Donruss Elite Amari Cooper New Breed Auto Relic

2015 Bowman Chrome Amari Cooper Blue Refractor Auto /99

Todd Gurley

Although his ACL recovery session kept him out of the first few games, he exploded last week with 155 yards rushing. RBs are rarely drafted high in the NFL anymore, and its becoming evident why Gurley was given that distinction. The hobby soured on his absence a bit, but prices are back up after the performance last week. Definitely going to be interesting to see if they hold, especially if he can continue to perform.

2015 Panini VIP Todd Gurley Red Wave Auto BGS 9.5

2015 Leaf Trinity Todd Gurley Inscription Auto

2015 Topps Inception Todd Gurley Auto Red /75

Melvin Gordon

San Diego hasnt exactly shown that they arent overrated this year, almost coming up short against the now 0-4 Lions, and getting shellacked by the Vikings. Gordon has gotten his fair share of carries, but has yet to find the endzone. Collectors are tired of waiting for RBs in San Diego to pan out, as Rivers continues to be the focus on the team.

2015 Topps Melvin Gordon Auto SP Variation

2015 Leaf Metal Draft Melvin Gordon Red Refractor Auto /5 BGS 9.5

Ameer Abdullah

As the third RB in a deep class, Abdullah had a stellar preseason and a TD in week one. Since then, the Lions offense has sputtered behind an injury riddled offensive line. The entire team has struggled to find their groove, and he has not been able to replicate success as a result. Collectors have cooled as well, but that is to be expected when a playoff team starts the season 0-4.

2015 Topps Ameer Abdullah Mini 1963 Retro Auto

2015 Prizm Draft Picks Ameer Abdullah Auto Refractor

Early Surprises

Matt Jones – RB Washington

The Redskins looked like a dumpster fire coming into 2015, especially with the RGIII situation playing out on the national stage. Matt Jones looked great in the first games of the year, and the hobby responded in kind. He is still very cheap, and he might be the person to shoulder most of the carries in Washington if he continues to perform.

2015 Bowman Chrome Matt Jones Superfractor Auto 1/1

2015 Donruss Elite Matt Jones Auto

Karlos Williams – RB Buffalo

Another rookie RB that has played very well, with 3 TDs so far this year already. With LeSean McCoy struggling to stay healthy, he has gotten more of the stage. His cards went from worth nothing to worth something, and that says a lot for a position that is all but dead in cards today.

2015 Inception Karlos Williams Auto Pink Parallel

2015 Prestige Karlos Williams Auto RC

Even though the bigger named rookies are still ramping up, customers are already looking to find their targets as the premium products start to roll out. I would expect that as sets like Finest and Platinum hit shelves, we should have a better idea of what 2015 will eventually look like in terms of potential for this season. Collectors fail to see that many rookies can take years to develop, and that spells a buyers market for a lot of the guys out there. This is a good time to get your cards, especially if your target isnt a big name.

Baseball’s Final Day Features Two of the Hobby’s Biggest Names

I am sad to say that today is the last day of the Baseball season. It has been nothing short of amazing this year, and it is bittersweet to see such a banner year come to a close. Although the season is ending, it is doing so with the Angels and Astros hoping to punch their ticket to the post season. With those two teams in the mix, so are Mike Trout and Carlos Correa, two players that collectors continue to chase with reckless abandon. If the Astros win, they are in, and if they lose, the Angels can get in with a win. Going to be crazy.

Mike Trout – MVP Candidate


2008 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Orange Refractor Auto /25

2015 Triple Threads Mike Trout / Hank Aaron / Ken Griffey Jr Triple Auto Relic

2015 Supreme Mike Trout On Card Auto SSP /25

If you have been paying attention to Trout’s cards over the last few months, they have not softened at all during another season where he is a guy that SHOULD win the MVP based on the advanced statistics. Trout’s hobby value should have already hit its ceiling having won the MVP last year, but it seems like his cards continue to go higher. He is one of those people that continues to amaze, and has a tremendous personality to go along with it. That is a recipe for continued value in this sport.

Topps has Trout locked up on an exclusive, and rightfully so. He is that generational player that manufacturers drool over. Any and every card featuring his autograph sells, regardless of what it looks like. He is great to work with, he signs his stuff, and he obviously charges an amount that works well for everyone involved. When you add in that any collector would fight and claw to get his cards, its crazy to think how valuable that is for a company like Topps.

Carlos Correa – ROY Candidate


2013 Bowman Chrome Carlos Correa Auto RC BGS 10

2014 Bowman Platinum Carlos Correa Auto BGS 9.5

2015 Heritage High Numbers Carlos Correa Auto Real One

I dont think many were expecting the Astros to compete the way they have. Not only are they one of those last to first stories this year, they have a core of young players who will make them competitive for years. Another recent Topps exclusive signed, Carlos Correa has taken the hobby world by storm in 2015. He is also someone I named the Hobby MVP and ROY as his meteoric rise has been nothing short of amazing. Not only is he a value position, but he seems to have all five tools in his back pocket.

Even though there is really only one Trout like player per generation, Correa is looking like there might be another in the works. Although he was the number one pick, many collectors were lukewarm on him at best for the first few years of his minor league career. The number two pick in Byron Buxton was getting all the attention, but Correa showed why he should have been the main focus as soon as he was called up.

Of all the rookie players potentially making an impact in the post season, I have to say that Correa’s cards should be the ones that move the most. If the Astros make it, and he plays well, look out. That should be pretty clear. Even better, if he doesnt play well, his cards wont likely drop that far. Its a no lose proposition.

I wish there was a way to get both of these guys into the post season. No doubt about it. With Harper likely a top MVP candidate, the baseball collecting world might be in the best spot it has been in for a very long time. There is a huge group of people who will argue that there are more fireworks on the way, especially with guys like Bryant, Schwarber, Sano and others all getting more reps next year to see what they really have. This is going to be a fun post season regardless. Stay tuned for a breakdown tomorrow of collectible names to chase.