Ranking the most valuable active wide receiver (WR) rookie cards in 2020

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The purpose of this article is to share a comparison of NFL wide receiver (WR) rookie card values in 2020. We analyze the most valuable and least valuable wide receiver rookie cards available today. The results may surprise you!

This analysis was completed through week 10 of the NFL season, mid-November 2020.

Methodology for selecting players and cards

There are ~150 Wide Receivers (WR) who have caught a pass so far in the 2020 NFL season, according to pro-football-reference.com. Even Josh Allen has 1 catch for 12 yards and a touchdown.

We cannot include all WRs in our analysis of top wide receiver rookie card values, so the following criteria was used to select players to include:

  • Active in the 2020 season
  • High probability of being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, OR
  • Among the top ~20 in receiving yards in 2020 and / or 2019

In addition to player selection, we also needed to select comparable cards in order to compare values.

The following criteria was used for card selection:

  • Rookie cards only
  • PSA-graded cards only
  • PSA 10 only
  • Rookie cards with frequent sales, Chrome or Prizm only

Although steps were taken to provide an accurate analysis, we understand this approach is not perfect and some players may have been left out, but the results are still surprising and insightful!

Benchmarking the active players against NFL Hall of Famers

Before reviewing the top wide receiver rookie card values of current NFL Wide Receivers, we wanted to provide the card values of the four most recent WR inductees to the NFL Hall of Fame:

RankPlayerCardEst. Price
1Randy Moss1998 Topps Chrome Randy Moss #35$525
2Terrell Owens1996 Topps Finest Terrell Owens #338$237
3Marvin Harrison1996 SP Marvin Harrison #18$210
4Isaac Bruce1994 Bowman Isaac Bruce #68 (not chrome)$75

Per the table above, Randy Moss tops the list at ~$525 for his 1998 Topps Chrome #35 card. He is followed by Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, and then Isaac Bruce.

I was not surprised to find Randy Moss at the top of this list. His dominance earned him the nickname “The Freak.” He was also a 6x Pro Bowl selection, 4x All-Pro, and 1998 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Ranking of the top 16 most valuable active NFL Wide Receiver (WR) rookie cards

Below is the list of the top 16 most valuable active NFL Wide Receiver (WR) rookie card values. Notable exclusions to the list include Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, D.J. Moore, and Davante Parker due to limited data available at the time of writing this post.  

RankPlayerCardEst. Price*
1Julio Jones2011 Topps Chrome Julio Jones #131$640
2Larry Fitzgerald2004 Topps Chrome Larry Fitzgerald #215$635
3DK Metcalf2019 Panini Prizm DK Metcalf #343$290
4Michael Thomas2016 Panini Prizm Michael Thomas #230$270
5DeAndre Hopkins2013 Panini Prizm DeAndre Hopkins #225$260
6Stefon Diggs2015 Panini Prizm Stefon Diggs #285$150
7Tyreek Hill2016 Panini Prizm Tyreek Hill #296$145
8Amari Cooper2015 Panini Prizm Amari Cooper #201$120
9A.J. Brown2019 Panini Prizm A.J. Brown #344$110
10JuJu Smith-Schuster2017 Panini Prizm JuJu Smith-Schuster #281$110
11Kenny Golladay2017 Panini Prizm Kenny Golladay #283$85
12Chris Godwin2017 Panini Prizm Chris Godwin #243$83
13Odell Beckham Jr2014  Panini Prizm Odell Beckham Jr. #282$75
14Cooper Kupp2017 Panini Prizm Cooper Kupp #203$65
15Jarvis Landry2014 Panini Prizm Jarvis Landry #295$65
16Mike Evans2014 Panini Prizm Mike Evans #216$50

*Prices as of November 2020.

#1-2 most valuable rookie cards

Julio Jones and Larry Fitzgerald top the list with a PSA 10 graded rookie card priced at ~$640. Both receivers have had impressive careers. For example, Fitzgerald has been selected to 11x Pro Bowls and Jones and both players are strong candidates to be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame.

#3-5 most valuable rookie cards

The next three Wide Receivers on the list, DK Metcalf, Michael Thomas, and DeAndre Hopkins are all priced at ~$260-300 for a PSA 10 rookie card. For example, DK Metcalf, the highest priced among the three, is also the most surprising. He ranked 34th in total receiving yards in 2019 and has yet to earn his first Pro Bowl selection. Although he ranks 6th in receiving yards in 2020 (through week 10), he is still behind DeAndre Hopkins, who is currently ranked 1st in the league and a 4x Pro Bowler.  

Sports card prices are notorious for being influenced by the latest buzz and no doubt DK Metcalf’s card prices are benefitting from his recent chase-down and tackle of Arizona Cardinals’ Budda Baker.

However, sports card collectors and investors should understand that buying DK Metcalf now means buying a card that may have an inflated value.

#6-10 most valuable rookie cards

The #6-10 ranked Wide Receivers (WR) have the most likely candidates for upside potential. For example, two names to consider are Tyreek Hill and Amari Cooper. Tyreek Hill is already a 4x Pro Bowler, 2x All-Pro, and 1x Super Bowl champion. He is also catching passes from a likely future Hall of Famer, Patrick Mahomes II.

Amari Cooper is also a 4x Pro Bowler, former 1st Round (4th Overall) pick, and only 26 years old. He is unfortunately on the Dallas Cowboys who are having a terrible 2020 season. If the Cowboys can turn things around, or Cooper gets traded to a winning team, he will likely continue to build on his accomplishments, thus increasing the value of his cards.   

#11-16 most valuable rookie cards

Rounding out the top 16 you have a few more interesting names. Jarvis Landry is a 5x Pro Bowl selection and has had 3 seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards. Odell Beckham Jr. is a 3x Pro Bowl selection and has made unreal plays throughout his career (see below). With Baker Mayfield throwing them both the football, however, they are likely to continue to put up mediocre numbers over the next few seasons.  

Word of warning on active Wide Receiver (WR) rookie cards

We included the values of Hall of Fame Wide Receivers for a reason. Randy Moss was among the most well-known NFL players for many years and is already in the NFL Hall of Fame, yet two players on the active WR list have more expensive rookie cards than Moss.

DK Metcalf’s rookie card is currently priced at $290 which is more than 3 of the 4 most recent Hall of Fame Wide Receiver selections. Marvin Harrison, for example, played in the NFL for 13 years, was an 8x Pro Bowl selection, 3x All-Pro, and 1x Super Bowl champion. He was the best wide receiver catching passes from one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, Peyton Manning. Perhaps DK Metcalf will achieve a similar level of accomplishment in his career, but he has a long way to go.

Our recommendation on wide receiver rookie cards to buy

If we were looking to see appreciation in our NFL wide receiver sports cards, we would likely look at buying Hall of Famers Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss, as well as active receivers who likely have upside: Tyreek Hill and Michael Thomas would top the list for us. DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper also warrant consideration.

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