Sports Card Targets - Top 5 Hottest Names To Target Right Now

We have been getting some indications recently that the long sports hiatus may be coming to an end very soon. The indications that sports card investors are starting to realize this is becoming clear as well. Sports Card Investors’ tracking showed every single name in the top-60 across sports increase in price over the last 30 days. So what does that mean for us? It seems the market may be on the verge of breaking out with the ultimate catalyst being the first announcement by a major sports league of a confirmed start/continue date. There is still time to get ahead of that announcement and invest in some of the top names across the leagues. This week we’ll look at the top-5 names across sports that we want to have exposure to. We’ll give you the obvious cards to target along with some that may be overlooked.

We will generally target Panini brands for NFL and NBA as they own exclusive rights to those leagues, and then Topps brands for MLB. 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”. 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. Be sure to subscribe using this link or use the promo code GRINDERS for your 20% off your first payment with SCI.

Top-5 Players to Target Before Sports Return

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5) Ja Morant – Ja is kind of a poor man’s Zion. Picked 2nd-overall in the NBA’s 2019 Draft, behind Zion, Ja’s cards are 2nd in all of sports to Zion Williamson right now as far as number of sales recently. Ja’s cards are more affordable than Zion’s are currently and gives us a good alternative to target if we don’t want to spend up for Zion. Morant was averaging close to 18 points per game in his rookie season, and his Memphis Grizzlies would be in the playoffs if the NBA decides to return and dive right into post season. If Ja plays well in the playoffs his cards could take off and we may regret the opportunity we had right now to buy.

Cards To Target:

2019-20 Panini Prizm Silver #249 Ja Morant RC Gem Mint PSA 10 – Target Under $1,050

2019-20 Panini Prizm Silver #249 Ja Morant RC Gem Mint BGS 9.5 – Target Under $550

2019-20 Panini Select JA MORANT Silver Prizm Premier Level RC #120 Raw – Target Under $180

4) Ronald Acuna Jr – The reigning National League Rookie of the Year is also the hottest name in MLB Sports Cards right now. As the country waits for sports to return, baseball is one of the more promising prospects to return within the next couple of months. MLB could use the good publicity after the recent Houston Astros scandal, and giving the country some positive news by pioneering the return of sports would be huge and likely ignite interest in the sport and it’s players from which Acuna’s cards stand to benefit. These cards have been trending up for the last few months but still present an opportunity for upside.

Cards To Target:

2018 Topps Update Ronald Acuna Jr PSA 10 – Target Under $190

2017 Bowman Chrome Baseball Prospects Ronald Acuna Jr PSA 10 – Target Under $130

2018 Topps Baseball Base Ronald Acuna Jr. Bat Down PSA 10 – Target Under $1,900

3) Luka Doncic – Another NBA player makes the list because the NBA is currently the Sports Card king. Back in the day people were only interested in baseball cards but with the explosion in the NBA’s popularity over the last 20 years, they now dominate the market. Luka is a popular young player with a bright future who, like Ja, is playing on a team that would make the playoffs if they were to start today. His main card to target, the 2018 Prizm Silver PSA 10, has risen significantly with a 50% gain since the beginning of March but likely has room to run especially if the NBA announces that the season will resume with Playoffs.

Cards To Target:

2018-2019 Luka Doncic Prizm Silver PSA 10 – Target Under $1,950

2018-2019 Luka Doncic Optic Basketball Base #177 PSA 10 – Target Under $350

2018-2019 Immaculate Luka Doncic RPA /99 Raw – Target Under $7,500

2) Kyler Murray – The Cardinals have been on fire with their off-season moves highlighted by a trade that sent declining David Johnson to the Texans for stud receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona is a young team with good weapons and seemingly solid coaching and will be a playoff contender in the upcoming season. Murray’s price has risen significantly to reflect his improving situation, but there is still room for upside. His Panini Contender Autograph cards are popular targets but keep an eye on some lesser-known brands to see if you can add a hidden gem to your portfolio.

Cards To Target:

Chart Courtesy of

2019 Kyler Murray Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autograph Raw – Target Under $650

2019 Kyler Murray Select Football Silver Field Level Raw – Target Under $140

2019 Kyler Murray Immaculate rpa /99 Raw – Target Under $250

1) Zion Williamson – Zion is the hottest name in sports cards right now and has been for a while. The first-overall selection of the 2019 NBA draft started off the season on the bench due to injury, but lived up to his hype when he was healthy enough to play. There aren’t many players that come along that light up the sports card market like Zion has, so his prices aren’t cheap. The most obvious card to target is his 2019 Prizm Silver card. This is “the one that got away” for me that continues to haunt me after bailing on an ebay negotiation where I had the opportunity to buy a PSA 10 for $2100 only to turn it down and see it climb over $3k less than a week later and it hasn’t stopped climbing. If we think Zion is going to have a career trajectory as Giannis Antetokounmpo, then maybe a few years from now that card will hit $17k like Giannis’ PSA 10 Prizm Silver has recently. But a lot can happen in a few years and there is no guarantee that Zion won’t crash and burn. We’ll list that card as a target regardless due to it’s significance right now along with some interesting lesser-known cards that have potential to get “discovered” in the coming years and benefit from a successful Zion career.

Cards To Target:

Chart Courtesy of

2019 Zion Williamson Panini Prizm Silver #248 PSA 10 – Target Under $3,000

2019 Zion Williamson Optic Basketball Holo BGS 9.5 – Target Under $1,000

2019-20 Zion Williamson Panini Select Rookie Patch Auto RPA /199 – Target Under $850

About the Author

  • Simon Edwards (Pumacom)

  • Simon is a long-time sports card collector who spent the majority of his cash as a kid investing in cards to sell at card shows. In 2009-2010 he owned an affiliate collectables website along with sports-card legend, Don West, where they did box breaks and sold cards. Simon recently got back into sports card investing after the market reset itself and investability returned to the market.


  • booyah72

    prizm>Optic>select….borderless, different multicolor prizm, and different versions like concourse will make select less desirable vs the other two chrome finish cards
    print run on giannis silvers is much less than the zion silvers, for their rookie years. will be hard for demand/supply to reach those astronomical numbers like giannis silvers

  • cwilley

    • 134

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #4

      RG Tiered Ranking

    Who are some lower tier guys you would suggest? Some guys that might not cost as much to invest in, but could drastically increase in value in the future?

  • SergeFT

    Gotta pay 49.99 to find out.

  • RGProducer

    Try checking out the Post-draft Targets article if you are looking for cheaper NFL options and the 2 NBA articles for cheaper NBA @cwilley… can find them all in the Sports Cards page

  • RGProducer

    @booyah72 The increased printing of cards is why hobby sets and more limited cards would be more valuable to invest in ie Select. The Zion Silvers may not reach the same astronomical numbers as Giannis but wouldn’t need to in order to profit from the card at these levels. But, like any investment, it’s a bet on an outcome. I believe there is potential upside from the $3k price on the Prizm Silver but I prefer the Select RPA at the lower price.

  • booyah72

    @rgproducer A lot of people will like select. But as far for flagship rookie cards go, a select RPA, if not in the base set will not be the chase rookie card in set. The jumps with the optic and prizm being the main flagship rookie in the middle of the line brands will always command a premium, when rookie cards start to pop in prices. If you want the jumps in value when you can get a quick 5x-to 7x compared to a 2x-4x, in select. In the same time frame. Why spend more on a hobby box panini is trying to push, when you get the bigger jumps with products that are cheaper when they come out. The giannis silver is rare, because panini and prizm wasn’t the go to basketball card yet. Boxes in hobby and retail remained on shelves. The 90’s parallel became the go to buys from 2012- to about 2015. True collectors were still mulling over no topps in the basketball market. Nba just had a lockout, so the 12/13 prizm had a great double rookie class (kawhi/kyrie), but the market didnt love the prizm compared to topps chrome. a lot of people were starting to switch brands or even sports to buy and sell. The 90’s boom happened, and steph curry happened. The last installment of topps chome had steph, and james harden in it. Mike trout mania was happening also with Topps 2011 update at this time. When everything settled collectors finally realized prizm was the flagship from that point on, and topps was never getting back in the game, prices started to spike and panini ramped up production on the set every year. Also helped that KAT was helping to move the flagship card, and panini also made a pleasing prizm in white sparkle.

    When it comes to RPAs a lot of time its pretty much natl’ treasures/immaculate/flawless or bust for exponential growth. Also with all the different multicolors in select, and different levels like concourse, premier, etc. They might look nice, and it looks different from Optic or prizm, but the rainbow to chase a players cards becomes undesirable sometimes. There are just too many levels, and colors to truly know what you want. Topps set the stage with the solid color refractors. They finally ventured into gimmick refractors like “wave” to make things different like panini. But solid color refractors/prizm will almost always outsell gimmicky refractor/prizm at the same production run card

  • RGProducer

    Definitely respect that answer @booyah72. Lots of good history there. I’m arguing for looking for the next Prizm. If you had to guess what less-popular brand do you think could catch on and people should target so they can benefit like early Prizm investors?

  • booyah72

    Since Contenders and Contenders Optic continue to be a great hit in football. It makes sense that the clean rookie ticket autos be the next trend in building collections, and flipping. Skybox autographics was such a mainstay in the 90’s with clean card/autos…that contenders seem to remind a lot of people of it. Just like bowman chrome 1st autos…contender rookie autos have potential of blowing up. And a quick flip can be had.

  • RGProducer

    @booyah72 check RG inbox.

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