Card collecting is easy, what is hard is the buying/selling aspect. Fluctuations in the card market (market dropped 20-25% in the past three months), buy-low & sell-high concept, whom to buy from, and where to sell are all details that need to be given thought and time. I bring this up to remind everyone it’s a grind to turn a profit in cards, just like it’s a grind to get a return on your investment in fantasy football. And it is especially a grind at the TE position, which we will look at today.
I can’t tell you how many times I see fantasy team owners throw away the TE position. But, when looking over championship rosters in 2020, a big majority had Travis Kelce & Darren Waller on their teams. The Fantasy Points generator has Travis Kelce as an early to mid 1st round pick in many simulations. But as in fantasy football, the same for card collecting; the TE position is almost an afterthought. The first TE we are going to look at is the perfect example.
Logan Thomas – His 110 targets in 2020 resulted in a line of 72/670/6, not too shabby in his first year as a starting TE. His trajectory is pointing upwards. Second year as starter, aggressive QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who also likes to throw to his TE and an even more aggressive HC in “Riverboat” Ron Rivera. What’s interesting about Thomas’ rookie cards is that he came into the league as a quarterback, so all his RC’s show him as a QB. Folks are looking right past him in the drafts I do and he currently has an ADP of the 8th round in the NFFC. If you caught any of Washington’s second game against Cincinnati, you might have noticed Thomas running uncovered a couple of times and with ample separation at other times. Last month I was on Sportlots buying a bunch of Logan Thomas Panini Prizm and Topps Chrome rookie cards. Mixed in about three autograph cards and several parallels. His base rookie cards were going from .18 - .25 cents a card. The blue, green, and red, white & blue parallels were $1 and $2. A quick look on Starstock and we see his rookie Prizm last sold for $2. If you bought .18 cent cards on Sportlots, submitted them to Starstock, even with their .25 cent ingestion fee, who are making over $1.50 return on your investment! And wait until he has a two TD game!
Travis Kelce – Kelce is at the top of his game, an absolute monster on the field, match-up nightmare and about as consistent as they come. A career catch rate of 71.2% and double-digit TDs two of the past three seasons. As you would expect, Travis Kelce’s rookie cards are far more expensive than Thomas’. His 2013 Panini Prizm ranges from $45 - $60 (I see a Grade B sold for $45 on Starstock recently even) and his 2013 Topps Chrome from $50 - $60. The thing about Kelce cards, there isn’t much stock. There were only three of his rookie Prizms listed on Sportlots (I bought two) and only three Grade B’s list on Starstock. This is when we need to hit our local card shop (LCS) and card shows hunting for his rookie cards. His value should increase with another big season. Also a plus, he likes the media spotlight.
Rob Gronkowski – We already know Gronk is a surefire Hall of Famer. We also know he will stay in public view after he retires at the end of this season (likely), think film & TV career. His 2010 Topps Chrome RC sold for $15 On Starstock about 13 months ago and is now going for $75…if you can find one. No Grade A’s on Starstock, nothing on Sportlots. There are a handful of raw (ungraded) cards on eBay going for $50. I think this is his last season and believe Tom Brady will want to send his friend off with a bang.
TJ Hockenson – Jared Goff’s best receiving option on the Lions. Detroit has a pretty solid OL, so there is hope that Goff will have time to let plays develop, which bodes well for Hockenson. Had over 100 targets last season and I expect more this year. Improved his catch rate last year from 54% as a rookie to 66%. I bought his 2019 Panini Prizm RC for $2.99 last year on StarStock, it’s going for $6.75 now, more than double what I paid for it. A couple of good games and he gets to $9-$10. He’s pretty reasonable in price; I’d dive in even at $7.
Darren Waller – Exploded last year and his 2015 Panini Prizm reflects that, though there might be a buying opportunity if he gets off to a slow start. Currently going for around $28, one sold for $12.75 on Starstock on July 9th. I’d keep an eye on his price and if you can get any good pricing at your LCS or a card show, buy it!
Jonnu Smith – Who is agile & athletic, plays for a new team that likes to feature TEs offensively and will be a rookie QBs best friend? Survey says: Jonnu Smith! You can grab his 2017 Donruss rookie card for as low as .18 cents on Sportlots.
Jacob Harris – He’s my dart throw. I don’t know what kind of rookie cards the Rams 4th round pick will have, but they should be inexpensive and will make a good stash. Caught eight TDs last year at UCF on only 30 receptions and as a wide receiver. He’s fast and athletic, just the type of TE the Rams love. I did buy a couple of numbered Panini Showcase Rated Rookie cards of Harris, but they weren’t cheap!
That’s going to wrap up our look at the TE position, but I did want to mention Kyle Pitts. Will write more of him once we start seeing his Donruss, Panini Prizm and Panini Mosaics hit the market. He will be a buy for me, but need to find the right pricing. The big card on him now is a 2021 Panini Prizm Draft Picks and the base card is $5-$6, no thanks.