Christian McCaffrey

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Our Investing Thesis

The hobby is huge. There is a ton of temptation and FOMO. It's easy to become undisciplined and sloppy in pursuit of making money investing in sports cards.

Our sports card investing thesis is three fold.

1. Don't Chase. The way to make money investing in Sports Cards is NOT to chase the hot players or cards, but to have the ability to identify the NEXT hottest player BEFORE their card prices take off.

2. Stay In The Game. Since each player has a countless amount of cards, it's necessary to stay disciplined in identifying and purchasing cards that will have the ability to rise in value. Go Low / Mid Risk as much as possible. Everyone wants the big names. If the price is already high, then the upside is already baked in. Buy the dip on either the card, the player or both. Have reasonable expectations. Not every card will yield a profit, but overall, if you stay in the game, you should make 20% over the long haul.

3. Be Set Up To Sell. The most overlooked part of profiting in sports card investing is actually being set up to sell your cards. This includes acquiring cards that are frequently transacted, so as to instill confidence in your future buyer by being able to show consistent sales comps. We're not saying not to acquire short prints and variations, but if you're looking to make an ROI quickly, these aren't always the best cards.

There are two windows. The long term window and the flippable window. The long term window is when you believe a player has a season or more of relevant potential "moments" ahead. The flippable window is when a player actually never has to perform well on the field or court, but only has to generate enough "hype" to see an increase in card value.

We know that our background of professional sports front office work and player scouting, high stakes fantasy sports expertise, digital content creation and sales will make our Sports Card Investment Report a critical piece in your pursuit of positive ROI on your Sports Card Investments.

Christian McCaffrey

The Reward

Christian McCaffrey “CMC” is the starting running back for the Carolina Panthers. His three-year career at Stanford University included a 2,000-rushing yard campaign that helped him become a Heisman Trophy finalist, a 50.7-percent (99th-percentile) College Dominator Rating, an 18.7-percent (98th-percentile) College Target Share, and an NCAA-record 3,864-total-yard season. His opting to skip Stanford’s Sun Bowl game at the end of the 2016 season to prepare for the 2017 NFL Draft was, at the time, a controversial one that was met with mixed reactions.

At the NFL Combine, he rrecorded a 4.48 (82nd-percentile) 40-yard dash and 10.79 (98th-percentile) Agility Score, CMC was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the eighth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Splitting time with veteran Jonathan Stewart as a rookie, CMC only logged 117 carries for 435 rushing yards. HOWEVER, he ALSO recorded a whopping 80 receptions and 651 receiving yards, finishing the year as the RB#12 in Fantasy Football. He spent the next two seasons breaking fantasy football stats. Rushing for over 1,000 yards and catching over 100 passes in each year, he averaged 24.1 (No. 2) fantasy points per game “FPPG” in 2018 and an absurd 29.3 (No. 1) FFPG in 2019.

Heading into the 2020 season many analysts and hobbyist alike were calling him “The Next Marshall Faulk,” McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension through 2025, making him the highest-paid running back in league history. The deal includes a $21.5 million signing bonus, $38,162,500 guaranteed, and a $16,015,875 average annual salary. He carries a maximum cap hit of $17,709,500 in the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

McCaffrey’s 2019 was truly special. Aside from the productivity metrics, he led the position in Snap Share (98.4-percent), Opportunity Share (91.5-percent), and Weighted Opportunities (396.7). As far as advanced receiving metrics, he also led all running backs with a 23.7% Target Share and 405 Routes Run. Not to mention he was a master of efficiency: 415 (No. 12) Yards Created, a 45.8-percent (No. 2) Dominator Rating, and +56.7 (No. 2) Expected Points Added.

He was the most hyped skill position player entering the 2020 season, his 2017 base/silver Prizm (all rookies in 2016 and 2017 Prizm had their base RCs printed with a silver finish) in a PSA 10 grade got up to an absurd $850 re-sale value on average. The raw ones were selling for $100 on average.
The 2020 season began, and McCaffrey picked up right where he left off. After scoring 28.5 (No. 5) and 24.8 (No. 2) fantasy points in each of the first two games, he suffered a high ankle sprain that landed him on injured reserve. He returned in Week 9 to put up a whopping 37.1 (No. 2) fantasy points against the Chiefs, before promptly getting hurt again with a shoulder injury, ending his season with a technically career-high 30.1 Fantasy Points Per Game average. CMC’s 2021 season was again hampered by injuries… He was limited to just seven games with hamstring and ankle ailments, though once again he did log fantasy performances of 27.7 (No. 1), 24.7 (No. 3), 26.1 (No. 4), and 24.9 (No. 3) points.

The 2022 season represents something of a make-or-break season for CMC. This off-season the Panthers signed former Titan RB D'Onta Foreman in March. Foreman is more of a power back and Ben McAdoo (former offensive consultant for the Cowboys, and coaching journeyman around the NFL, changing teams/jobs every couple of years) wants a more physical running game. Matt Rhule (Carolina head coach) finally answered the question in March. "We can always move him around and utilize him, but at the end of the day, he's a running back," Rhule said. That doesn't mean CMC's role won't change some under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who wants to develop a scheme to take the pressure off the quarterback having to be a star.

That said, with Foreman and Chuba Hubbard on hand, we could see more two-back sets in which McCaffrey or one of the other backs shifts to another position. You also could see an attempt to lighten McCaffrey's load so the former superstar doesn't have the 403 touches and 429 snaps he did in 2019 when he became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Still, expecting McCaffrey to continue serving as the primary offensive weapon here seems reasonable. And if that's the case, and he's on the field, his past production shouldn't be ignored.
Outside of quarterback, the team has done an excellent job of improving the offensive line this season. Ikem Ekwonu was many evaluators’ top run blocking tackle in the draft, and in free agency, they added two solid starters in Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman. All of a sudden, an offensive line that was pretty terrible last year could be very solid this season, and one weak link at QB is manageable when you have CMC in the backfield.

The Risk

The Carolina Panthers have a middle of the pack TV market size and their social media page followers are average as well, ranking 13th in the NFL. According to Vegas, they are only predicted to win 6 games this year, ranking in the bottom 1/3 of the league. On paper their roster doesn’t look half bad defensively, but without a good QB they will be picked apart by The Bucs and Saints in their own division. Being in the NFC south, still led by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and with the Saints bolstering their roster all over the place The Panthers have virtually no shot of making the playoffs this year. CMC is now 26 and heading into his 6th season. If he gets injured again this year and doesn’t live up to his former production, people/collectors/investors will mostly write him off as washed up, and you combine that with a losing season by the Panthers and his prices will tank towards the second half of the year.

Thanks to Andy Cason from Football Card Quest and the Football Card Strategy Show for Contributing To This Profile.

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