How to Apply a DFS Mindset to Sports Cards

When it comes to buying and selling sports cards for profit, there are a lot of things which can contribute to your success or failure. Simply “knowing sports” isn’t enough to help you pick a good DFS lineup, and likewise it isn’t enough to pick cards which can be sold for profit.

I believe there are several skillsets that we use as DFS players which give us an advantage over the average player, and I think we can use some of those same skills to increase our chances of profitably buying and selling cards.

1) Put In The Work

It takes a lot of work to consistently win in DFS. There’s also a lot of work to do if you want to make money from sports cards. There are dozens of products for each sport, and they all have a variety of good and bad characteristics. Some have a track record of popularity and others don’t. Some contain a higher “cost per hit”, and others provide a ton of great content for the money. You have to put in some work to learn these things, and there are a ton of resources out there to assist in your education.

Sites like,, and the forums are some of the places I go to learn the basics of each sports card product and to participate in conversations about the industry. At I discuss how I approach building a collection through the profits I make buying and selling cards. The Market Movers tool at allows you to analyze actual eBay sales data to research both the positive and falling trends, and it can be valuable in helping you identify players you may want to buy. (Editors note – SportsCardInvestor is offering 20% off your first payment when you subscribe using this link or the promo code: GRINDERS)

2) Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is critical to DFS and the same can be said for buying and selling sports cards. Cards can be purchased for fractions of a penny a piece all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars per card. You need to approach your purchases with a plan so that you don’t “bite off more than you can chew”.

I’d suggest coming up with a budget and work your way into it. Don’t spend all of it at once! Test out your theories and see what approach you enjoy most. High dollar cards? Low dollar cards? Boxes of sealed packs, or just individual cards of specific players? All of those are options, but you may find success at some more than others. You need to have a plan for your bankroll as you work your way into a “portfolio” of cards.

3) Identify Unrecognized Potential

Many sports card products follow similar patterns and trends. We have tons of data at our fingertips which allow us to recognize those trends and then identify similar cards that have not yet appreciated in value. The Market Movers Tool at helps us filter some of that data.

Sometimes it is the rookie class from one year to another. Sometimes it is a trend in the value of players from a particular era. Sometimes its a broad increase in cards from an entire sport!

For instance, I recently had a couple nice flips in the soccer card market. For several months I had been hearing a growing buzz around soccer cards, I had seen some soccer card prices start to rise, but I hadn’t done anything about it. Well I started looking into a few soccer card boxes which were still priced very cheaply. Even though they contained some of the same hot players and similar products had already started to rise, these products were still at closeout prices.

I jumped in and bought several, including a case of 2018 Donruss Soccer for $260. Well, prices started to rise and now the list price is over $500!

I sold a few other products for about a 50% return after holding just a few weeks! There was no guarantee, but I was comfortable taking a risk because I had done the research and I had seen what similar products had done in the past.

4) Identify Value Opportunities

One of the things we look for in DFS is price discrepancies between sites. A player might be a “must play” on one site while at the same time we might not even consider playing him on another.

In the world of sports cards we have a similar situation. It is not uncommon for there to be pricing discrepancies between online sites, and even between the “in person” purchase prices at a shop or card show and what it can be sold for online.

Research and gaining a good understanding of values allows you to quickly identify these pricing inefficiencies and capitalize on the potential profit. One of my favorite things is buying an entire collection of cards for an average cost of .01-.10 each for base cards, and around $1 for jersey or autograph cards. Then I will put in the work to sort, organize, and list the cards and eventually make 2 to 3 times my original purchase cost. For instance, here’s an example of the type of listing you can investigate which might have potential. Look for a good detailed description and pictures and do you best to figure out the going rate for the contents inside!

If you put in the time to educate yourself and study the data, you can increase the likelihood that you will have positive results from buying and selling cards! Take advantage of the tools and resources that Rotogrinders and other sites have made available and join me in having fun with a hobby that also generates some extra cash!

About the Author

  • Mike Sommer (sportsgrinder)

  • Mike Sommer is a husband, father, and proud University of Illinois Alumnus. He has been playing DFS since 2012, and has been a lifelong sports card collector. He shares strategies on combining both the hobby and business sides of collecting via his podcast and blog which can be found at You can also follow him on Twitter @TheMikeSommer.


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