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2023 NFL Season Preview: Investment Advice, Products And More

The NFL season is upon us and card values are starting to rise in anticipation.

To prepare, we give you the Sports Card Investing NFL 2023 season preview.

The new season brings exciting potential, opportunity galore, and plenty of developing trends to anticipate. In this article, we’ll project some storylines for 2023, look at breakout veterans to watch, rookies poised for a big year, top products, and more.

One of the best ways to make money in sports card investing is by being a big enough of a sports junkie to follow the game and predict potential storylines for the upcoming season.

If you’re right about which teams to buy (or fade), then you build your investment portfolio around those projections. You won’t always be right about them all—even the best sports analyst misses the mark often—but if you’re right more than you’re wrong, it will pay off.

Here are some of our bold predictions for the upcoming NFL season.

Trevor Lawrence finishes in the top 3 for MVP voting

After an outstanding second half of the 2022 season, this could be the year where Trevor Lawrence makes the assent we’ve all anticipated.

His potential to win the MVP award in the 2023 NFL season stems from a combination of his exceptional talent, growth, and the circumstances surrounding his team. The addition of Calvin Ridley could give him a clear WR1 in addition to Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, making the Jags receiving core truly top 5 in the league.

The Lions make the NFC Championship

This is the part where we predicted the Eagles won the NFC East last year, and that panned out well. This year, the Lions are the sleeper pick. With a lot of weapons around Jared Goff and exciting visible improvements made through the second half of the year in 2022, the Lions could come out red hot (maybe not in Week 1 against the Chiefs…) and surprise a lot of people. 

Desmond Ridder surprises the doubters

Kenny Pickett is the only 2022 Draft quarterback getting much hype ahead of the 2022 season, but Desmond Ridder has a distinct advantage: he’s in a terrible division.

I don’t think the Falcons will be amazing, but Derek Carr and the Saints are the stiffest competition. On top of that, the Falcons have a lineup of skill players that Fantasy Footballers would drool over, so there’s a chance he overperforms expectations. 

Justin Herbert wins MVP

It was either this or “Chargers make the Super Bowl,” and there’s definitely a world where both happen. The Chargers have the deepest roster they’ve had in a long time this season, and Herbert has shown he’s ready to do what it takes to carry the team. 

Last year was rough, but Herbert was injured very early in the year and played through. This year should be different. That said, it’s now or never for Herbert, at least to match the price of his cards. 

Chiefs over the field

From what we saw from Mahomes last year, I don’t feel good about betting against him. Ever. Sure, it’s the NFL and anything could happen, but the Chiefs are our favorite to repeat this year. And as long as they have Mahomes (and maybe Kelce), that probably will not change for several years to come. 

Sports card investing 2023 NFL guide to the main releases

The NFL Card Schedule is catching up a bit, but Panini’s insistence on making a “Draft Picks” version of every brand means most of the NFL threads uniforms aren’t coming out until many of the big questions have already been answered about the 2023 season. 

With that in mind, here’s a cautionary warning: don’t invest in any draft picks cards or any new brands in 2023. The safest move you can make is to invest in the major brands.

Here are our top picks:

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5. Contenders

Tom Brady has a Contenders rookie autograph. That’s enough said about the legacy of this product. Contenders has been around for a long time and the rookie ticket autos are some of the hottest cards to collect and keep.

The chink in its armor is the “appeal factor.” This is only a set for autograph collectors – it has a very weak lineup of rookie cards and parallels outside of the autos. 

Shop for Football Contenders boxes

4. Select

Select has been around for over a decade, but it will always be the less-attractive version of Prizm. It was probably intended as a more high-end Prizm offering, especially since it didn’t have a retail offering for several years, but now it has an off-colored retail set that tells collectors that Select truly isn’t sure what it wants to be.

The three tiers of football rookies within the product feel a bit complicated, too – like it’s the only product that should come with a how-to guide before opening. That said, it’s still a great collection piece and will hold nice value over time.

Shop for Football Select boxes

3. National Treasures

National Treasures had to end up in the top three. The RPA /99s are the best rookie autographs every year, and most of the highest-selling modern sports cards of all time are National Treasures.

It’s a very expensive brand, but not as wallet-breaking as Flawless, and it’s been around for long enough for everybody to know what it is and why they should want it. The only thing that keeps it from being higher on this list is the hefty price tag.

Shop for Football National Treasures boxes

2. Optic

Donruss Optic was released in 2016 and has been one of the best sets ever since. It’s a chromium version of Donruss, with a wide variety of rainbow parallels that are short-printed versions of the base.

The cards look great, there are lots to collect, the rookie autographs are often on-card, and most importantly… these boxes are about 60% the price of Prizm. If you’re looking for a safe long-term hold on more of a budget, this is as good as it gets. 

Shop for Football Optic boxes

1. Prizm

Prizm cards, particularly the Silver Prizm, have become the standard currency of sports card investing. The cards are iconic and rare enough that they’re hard to find but not impossible to attain. Collectively, this has made the brand the most popular annual release in sports cards since it was launched in 2012.

Want more proof that Prizm is the king of football cards? Look no further than all the opti-chrome brands – Optic, Select, Mosaic and more – referring to the refractors as “Prizms”.

In addition to that, when it comes to buying singles from these brands, don’t go for unnumbered cards (even the Prizm silver, I’d advise). Instead, chase only numbered cards, rookie autographs, and nice RPAs.

These are the cards that will withstand the test against overprinting, which I think we’ll all realize was an issue in the early 2020’s some ten years down the road.

Shop for Football Prizm boxes

Top quarterbacks to invest in for 2023

Quarterbacks are the best investment you can make. Not only do they have a longer career than other skills positions (if things go well, at least), but they run the show on the field and therefore demand the most value.

Here are our top QBs to invest in for 2023.

Note, this is based on what we believe could be potential returns. Players like Mahomes, Hurts, Allen, and even Herbert are already priced high enough that the potential returns are low (that doesn’t make them bad investments. Just safer ones).

Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence is already being treated like a top-10 quarterback, and rightfully so, but after this year he could be seen as a Top 3 quarterback. His cards still have room to grow.

Deshaun Watson

Watson was terrible last year and his cards suffered because of it (and other circumstances). If he looks like he did in 2019, his prices could realistically double. 

Jared Goff

The Lions were one of the best teams over the back half of last season, just missing the playoffs. This year, Goff has the same high-powered offense and could captain a surprise playoff run.

Derek Carr

We know exactly what we’re getting from Carr: a lot of great plays mixed with just enough headscratchers to keep him from being elite. Still, the next-best quarterback in his new division is Desmond Ridder and the Saints should be playoff-bound, helping rally his cards.

Kyler Murray

Murray is a sneaky one because he might not be on the field and the Cardinals might have plans to trade him away at some point, but his undeniable talent and circus-play potential give him a very high resell ceiling. Now is a great buy-low. 

(Bonus) Mike White

This is a big swing, but Mike White has probably been the BEST quarterback to start for the Jets in 5 years, and now he’s backing up Tua, one of the most injury-prone quarterbacks in the league.

If Tua misses time, White will be quarterbacking the best receiving core in football. 

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Sports card investing NFL 2023 guide to rookie quarterbacks

This year’s rookie class is one of the most exciting in a while. Here’s a look at some of the most promising investments.

Bryce Young, Panthers

Bryce Young was handed by far the best situation for a rookie quarterback, and that matters a lot during the early years of an NFL QB. Look no further than Trevor Lawrence as an example.

By trading up for the #1 pick, the Panthers bring an already talented, playoff-contending team to support their young QB and it can help jumpstart his career. The physical concerns with his small stature are by far the biggest concerns.

Anthony Richardson, Colts

Anthony Richardson has the potential to easily be the best fantasy quarterback of the first-round pick, but could also surprise some and be the best overall.

His never-before-seen blend of size and speed will make him a two-way threat, but his lack of experience could make him a liability. Now, he’s competing for the starting spot against Garner Minshew. 

By the way, watch out for possible fake Anthony Richardson autos in 2023-24 Panini Prizm.

CJ Stroud, Texans

The Texans are not good. They’re bad. They are very bad. That alone is a red flag for Stroud, but he does have an elite arm. The big question to answer is whether or not his lack of protection or targets will offset his arm talent. 

Final thoughts on sports card Investing NFL 2023 Preview

At Cardlines, we’re trying to help you make money with sports card investing. So as the NFL season gets into full swing, be sure to check out our investment articles. They will provide you with all the latest tips and tricks needed to generate big returns.

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Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.

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