Sports Card Investing Targets - Can I Really Afford These Rookies?

Welcome back to another Under the Teepee article! I’m extremely excited to discuss today’s topic of picking up rookie cards. It’s no secret that the hobby as a whole is progressing and we are seeing more value in cards outside of the rookie product, but the rookies still hold the most value and if we can get our hands on those we absolutely want to any day of the week. The drawback in some cases though is that the modern era cards are becoming increasingly more expensive. Yes, based on cyclical trends you can usually purchase the rookies you want in the off-season, while another sport is more popular and approaching a championship, but they can still cost you a pretty penny. What we will illuminate today is how to get your hands on some of the players you love and want at a fraction of the cost. Let’s talk inserts!

Our pricing research is done using Sports Card Investor’s Market Movers data. You can sign up for your own Market Movers Subscription to access the data on your own and by using the promo code GRINDERS you will get 20% off your first payment on any subscription. You will want to sign up for Market Movers specifically in order to access the great tools and data, and if you sign up for the annual Market Movers subscription, you will save you 20% on the entire year instead of just the first month.

We will generally target Panini brands for football and basketball as they own exclusive NFL and NBA rights for sports cards. Just like DFS, be sure to manage your bankroll and don’t spend more than what your budget allows. Make sure you pay attention to the grading when looking at targets. Grading makes a huge difference in price, so price targets will be based on grading. An ungraded card is referred to as “Raw”. When targeting a Raw card, try to find one with the best centering, corners and edges (and surface if you can tell) as that is a card that might be worth sending in for grading. We’ll use SportsCardInvestor’s Market Movers data to evaluate current-market price targets based on what people have been paying most recently. Go above/below that market rate based on your convictions and confidence levels by player.

Can I Really Afford These Rookies?

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The modern day rookie cards from Prizm, Select, and Mosaic (the most popular) command tons of attention in the market. You will see sales of these particular brands more than most other companies or variations because of the accessibility of raw and graded versions. I want to focus primarily on purchasing graded cards today. Enter Exhibit A, the Luka Doncic Base Rookie with a Grade of PSA 10. Back in May we were able to secure this particular card for around $500. As with all other cards this would be considered the low point of the hobby as card prices were affected by Covid-19, but most of your “stars” have been on an upward trend since then. Luka definitely fits the bill as now his card prices have doubled! It has been a steady increase for the past couple of months which is normal as we approach a resumed NBA season, but what about his insert rookies? I’m going to focus on one insert in particular which is the Emergent Prizm. If we look at the same timeline you could get your hands on a PSA 10 Emergent for around $60. Some were slightly more ($62-$65) but that’s not too far away to make any drastic changes. If you look at those prices now they have essentially doubled in price as well with most recent sales being in the $120-$130 range. I think this is a fantastic opportunity to grab high profile players at very reasonable prices! The proof is in the pudding here as the rookie inserts are trending in the same direction in terms of percentage increases, but we are paying a fraction of the cost. Of course the inserts will not be able to catch up to the prices of the actual base rookies, but it is certainly an affordable way to hop on for the ride and enjoy the same profit potential from a percentage perspective. The same can be said for the Prizm Silver vs. the Emergent Silver as well. The Prizm Silver has seen a much more steep increase in pricing over that particular time span, and the Emergent Silver is trending along the same line. Back in April and May you were purchasing the Prizm Silver for around $1950-$2000 and the Emergent Silver for $100-$130. In today’s hot market you are seeing the Prizm Silver fly off the shelf for close to $6000 and the Emergent Silver for around $300. This is huge profit potential if you were able to grab some of these cards during the “Great Card Depression” back in April and May as you have now enjoyed some serious price appreciation, however my main point though is that the insert version of these players are still very reasonable and if the market trends hold true, we are on a steady increase in price with these high profile players. Check out a few of the links below to look at the Luka Emergent Prizm prices. I think you will be impressed with the offerings.

Chart Courtesy of SportsCardInvestor.com

Sports Card Description Target Price
Luka Doncic Emergent Silver PSA 10 Target Under $260
Luka Doncic Emergent PSA 10 Target Under $110
Luka Doncic Emergent BGS 9.5 Target Under $70

I wanted to primarily focus on Luka for this article because he will be one of the hottest new stars in the playoffs with a chance to showcase his immense talent. I would highly encourage you to grab some of these inserts prior to the first real game as it seems the card prices are only going up from here. I’m not going to stop with just Luka in terms of purchases though. Zion, Ja, Tatum, and Porzingis are other players that I am interested in for insert purchases. Additionally please check out Market Movers over at Sports Card Investor to compare prices of plenty of other modern era stars. It’s an incredible tool to help you weed out the noise and make well informed decisions. Please use the promo code Grinders to get 20% off your first payment and enjoy all this incredible platform has to offer. You’ve been under the teepee with the Chief, and we’ll catch you again really soon.

As always you can sign up for your own Market Movers Subscription to access the data on your own and by using the promo code GRINDERS you will get 20% off your first payment on any subscription.

As a new bonus in our articles, we are going to list all the cards from recent articles that you can check out to see if you can still buy at the target prices. Just click right on the links next to the cards to get to the eBay searches. Here are the additional targets we’ve recently featured in our articles:

Sports Card Description Target Price
2018 Gleyber Torres Topps Heritage PSA 9 Target Under $15
2018 Shohei Ohtani Topps Chrome Update PSA 9 Target Under $45
2015 Devin Booker Prizm Base PSA 9 Target Under $130
2016 Brandon Ingram Prizm Base PSA 9 Target Under $120
2018 Shai Gilgeous Alexander Base PSA 9 Target Under $75
Zion Williamson 2019 Optic Basketball Base PSA 10 Target $250
Zion Williamson 2019 Optic Basketball Base PSA 9 Target $100
Zion Williamson 2019 Optic Basketball Base BGS 9.5 Target $150
Ja Morant 2019 Optic Basketball Base PSA 10 Target $225
Ja Morant 2019 Optic Basketball Base PSA 9 Target $70
Ja Morant 2019 Optic Basketball Base BGS 9.5 Target $100
Sekou Doumbouya 2019 Optic Basketball Base PSA 10 Target $60
Sekou Doumbouya 2019 Optic Basketball Base PSA 9 Target $25
Sekou Doumbouya 2019 Optic Basketball Base RAW Target $5

About the Author

  • Will Priester (chiefjustICE06)

  • Will Priester, aka chiefjustICE06, has emerged on the DFS scene in the past couple years and finds himself in the top 100 overall rankings for Overall Grinder and Tournament Player of the Year. A former financial advisor and now full-time DFS professional, Will is a new on air personality and contributor for RotoGrinders, He is a top 100 ranked NBA player who also ranks high in the other major sports (NFL and MLB) with several live final appearances under his belt. Expect big things from the Chief in the future!

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