Monday, October 20, 2008

A Skill Position Value Study

I have always wanted to compile a "best of" list for position players in Football so I could easily see the way that I wanted to approach a product. I never got around to it, so I will do my best to do top 5 or so picks for worth in the hobby. I am not going to factor in this year's rookies, but some of them would probably make this list. I factored in my OWN opinions of worth of jersey cards, worth of auto cards, and worth in general, as well as staying power and HOF status. This is ONLY for living signers, so people like Unitas and Payton are not on this list.


1. Tom Brady

Cards for Brady these days are few and far between when it comes to autos. His jersey cards are still pretty common, but that doesn’t affect his price. His knee injury this year dropped prices on high end stuff, but his normals are the same. Manning's Contenders have eclipsed Brady's in price, but the everyday stuff for him has not.

2. Brett Favre

Is this any surprise to anyone? No, the guy hits every category at the top and is definitely among the best ever. He is still playing, and his cards are still rising, shockingly.

3. Joe Montana

He is thought of as the greatest and his autos reflect that. The jersey patches at 2 colors are quite expensive because the jersey itself was only two colors. He will continue to stay on this list forever.

4. Steve Young

Steve Young is immensly popular for both manufacturers and collectors. He was a visible guy and it didn’t hurt that he took over one of the best teams in history. He is near the top in many categories, and I expect that he will reach top value in most lists.

5. John Elway

Elway is the quintessential fan favorite pick. He didn’t win a super bowl until his last few years, and yet he is still one of the best ever. He signs a lot for DLP, but not many others, so his cards tend to be pretty expensive.

6. Dan Marino

Marino is on this list because his cards are normally in the 80-100 dollar range for autos, and his jersey cards also sell pretty well. He signs the most of anyone on this list, so his position is a little lower.

Running Back

1. Emmitt Smith

His cards cost so much money that even manufacturers are having a tough time producing them. He may not be the best in grammaticosity, but his playingness was the best of the brightfulness. He passed Payton in just about everything on the field, but for cards thats pretty tough when you are still alive.

2. Barry Sanders

The epitome of role models for a future RB has some great stuff to pick up. His cards still command a huge price, even though many current RBs are taking away some of the spotlight. Barry is one of my favorites because he was a small guy that did big things. A lot of current guys base their style on him, so you gotta believe he was one of the best ever.

3. Adrian Peterson

My favorite player, aside, this guy's cards continue to be hugely priced, despite the 2nd year drop off that every player has in card value. Try finding an auto jersey for less than 100. Even the SAGE stuff sells. That is fucking crazy.

4. LaDanian Tomlinson

Tomlinson has a bunch of records and shouldn’t be more than halfway done with his career. He was the top guy before Peterson came along, and he still gets a ton for auto jerseys. His RCs are in the stratosphere, so he has to be on this list.

5. Jim Brown

Jim Brown's stuff has become pretty common, but he is still a top pull. I think if he had done a little more in his career, he could have eclipsed even Payton in value. Brown is a polarizing figure, and from what I have heard he is also a jerk, so that could hurt value.

Wide Receiver

1. Jerry Rice

All WR cards are worth close to nothing, except him. I am really surprised that WRs take the brunt of the hobby hate, but its true that they are the most conceded people on the field most times. Rice was against all of that, and will forever be the games best until someone finds a way to change the position.

2. Michael Irvin

Even though the guy is everything I hate, he played for the cowboys and churned out great season after great season. He doesn’t sign all that much, but he does have a lot of jersey stuff, especially with DLP.

3.Terell Owens

Owens and Moss havent signed anything in a very long time, but that doesn’t mean their older stuff isnt super expensive. I would say Owens would be worth as much as Rice if he didn’t have so many problems, but even that is a tough sell. I guess you just have to have that me first attitude to get somewhere as a WR in this game.

4. Hines Ward

Pittsburgh fans are rabid, and his cards reflect that. He isnt the best in the game, but he is one of them. He signs more than most guys, and that has actually helped his value.

5. Randy Moss

Moss is an ass, but he is on the Pats and is the record holder for TDs in a season. He may not sign, but his stuff is still up there. Its all Vikings or Raiders, so that is a turn off for most NE fans, so you can expect his first pats auto to be REALLY expensive.

My dad always said that QBs are the only ones worth any money in the long run, and I think he is right. The only thing is that modern players do have a lot more durability, so maybe that will help shift things. I know that Emmitt and Jerry are worth as much as anyone, and that helps. But, overall, if you want long term value, take the field generals.


  1. Dickerson seems to do ok. I just looked at some of his jersey autos and they were much higher than expected. Not quite like the guys on your list, but noteworthy none the less.

  2. You would never guess that Dickerson ranks among the top all time in most categories. I like Dickerson, but im guessing he played with too many teams to build up a fan base.

  3. Rams to the colts. That sucked because the colts were terrible and did not have much of a fan base. If he strung seasons like that together now regardless of being on multiple teams, Who knows how he would be considered?

    Another great career partially derailed because of contract dispute. He took too much of a beating in 88 and 89 to go on much longer, but 83-88 he was clearly the best in the game.

  4. werent the raiders in there too?

  5. You are correct, but much like no one talks about willy mays as a met or Namath as a Ram, nobody acknowledges those three or so seasons. The colts were merely the beginning of the end.