NFL’s First-Quater Standouts and Breakout Hobby Stars
With a quarter of the NFL season already over, many players have made tremendous strides in their individual performances. Here are some of the top producers and how it has affected their hobby status and card values.
Detroit Lions, QB
Heading into the season, it looked like Matthew Stafford was on the verge of being another Detroit Lions draft bust. Taken as the first player in the 2009 draft, Stafford was expected to be the quarterback in Detroit for years to come. His rookie season showed glimpses of greatness, including a game where he threw five touchdowns. Unfortunately, an injury cut his year short. Stafford came back strong and showed a lot of promise in 2010, including a four-touchdown performance against Washington. However, he was limited to just three games following surgery on his throwing shoulder.
Heading into this season, Stafford was still thought highly of in many NFL circles and was a sleeper fantasy pick. All he had to do was stay healthy. He has led the surprising Lions to a 4-0 mark including two consecutive come-from-behind wins against the Vikings and Cowboys.
Through four games, Stafford has 11 Touchdowns and 1,217 yards passing. His star is quickly rising in the hobby. As a recent number one pick and quarterback, Stafford's values held up despite his injuries. Even still, they have jumped considerably over the last two weeks. His 2009 SP Authentic rookie autographs have increased nearly $200 dollars and his 2009 Playoff Contenders card has gone up by about $50. If Stafford continues to improve, stays healthy and the Lions make a push for a playoff spot, look for his cards to jump even further.
MATTHEW STAFFORD SP AUTHENTIC RC AUTO PATCH LOGO 499 HOT LIONS SUPERSTAR QB
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Auto
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Auto
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Auto.
Oakland Raiders, RB
In 2008, Darren McFadden was destined for hobby stardom. Selected fourth overall, he was the rookie you hoped to pull when busting packs. McFadden didn't live up to the early hype and struggled most of his rookie season. At the same time, rookie backs such as Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, and Ray Rice all flourished and stole McFadden's hobby spotlight.
His stats suffered further in 2009 before making huge strides in 2010 when he finished with 1,157 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. McFadden has continued his ascent up the NFL's rushing ranks in 2011 and currently leads the league in yards.
McFadden's autographed rookie cards have seen increases across the board. His 2008 Upper Deck Exquisite, 2008 SP Authentic and 2008 National Treasures cards have all jumped more than$50 in just the past couple of weeks. The Raiders are a much improved team this season. They also have a favorable schedule, which should bode well for both McFadden's stats and card values.
Detroit Lions, WR
Also be on the lookout for Stafford's favorite target Calvin Johnson. Johnson has benefited from having a healthy star quarterback, catching eight touchdowns so far this year. He is also on pace for a career year in receptions.
Johnson has been a huge part of both the Lions' come-from-behind wins. He made a spectacular 40-yard catch to set up a game-winning field goal against Minnesota. He followed that up with a game-winning touchdown against Dallas. Johnson is currently tied with Chris Carter with four consecutive two touchdown games.
Thanks in part to the Lions' hot start, Johnson's cards have seen increases across all brands. It also helps that he's one of the few offensive stars from the 2007 draft. Johnson's 2007 SP Authentic and 2007 Playoff Contenders rookie autographs have increased $30 since the start of the season.
Most receivers don't get the same hobby attention that quarterbacks and running backs receive. Johnson is a notable exception as his prices rival many of the most talented players at those key hobby positions.
With the first quarter over and the second quarter about to begin, it will be very interesting to see what players will make a jump from forgotten top draft pick to the next hobby star. Could it be Michael Crabtree, who seemed to make progress again last week? Can Josh Freeman continue to make improvements and equal his breakout 2010 season? Or will it be Arizona's Beanie Wells who had a three-touchdown performance against the Giants? Only time will tell.