Justin James “JJ” Watt (03/22/89) is a defensive end who currently plays for the Houston Texans. An absolute unit with surprising explosiveness, he’s been the bane of many NFL attackers’ lives since being drafted by the Texans in the first round in 2011.
Here’s everything you need to know about his rookie cards, with a checklist, pricing, good investment options, and an outlook for the future.
JJ Watt Rookie Card Checklist
Watt has a massive list of rookie cards to choose from, meaning there’s something to suit every budget. Here’s a checklist with JJ’s cards that were released in 2011:
- 2011 Bowman Sterling J.J. Watt #3
- 2011 Donruss Elite J.J. Watt #145
- 2011 Leaf Metal Draft Autographs J.J. Watt #RC-JJW
- 2011 Panini Absolute J.J. Watt #156
- 2011 Panini Certified J.J. Watt #186
- 2011 Panini Gold Standard J.J. Watt RC #/299
- 2011 Panini Plates and Patches J.J. Watt RC #134 Autograph #/150
- 2011 Panini Playbook J.J. Watt RC #68
- 2011 Panini Playoff Contenders J.J. Watt RC #137 Autograph
- 2011 Panini Limited J.J. Watt #169
- 2011 Panini Playoff National Treasures J.J. Watt RC #243 Autograph #/99
- 2011 Panini Prestige J.J. Watt #244
- 2011 Panini Prime Signatures J.J. Watt RC #193 Autograph #/199
- 2011 Press Pass J.J. Watt #52
- 2011 Sage J.J. Watt RC #A55
- 2011 Score Red Zone J.J. Watt RC #340
- 2011 SP Authentic J.J. Watt #57
- 2011 Topps Chrome J.J. Watt #104
- 2011 Topps Chrome J.J. Watt RC #331
- 2011 Topps Platinum Rookie Refractor Autographs J.J. Watt #86 #/1550
- 2011 Topps Rising Rookies J.J. Watt RC #146
- 2011 Upper Deck J.J. Watt #188
- 2011 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection J.J. Watt #80 Autograph #/70
The Best JJ Watt Rookie Cards
We’ve looked through recent auction data to bring you a list with three of the most popular JJ Watt rookie cards available right now.
2011 J.J. Watt Topps Chrome Rookie Card #104 (buy on eBay)
Featuring an image from the 2011 NFL Combine, Watt’s Topps Chrome card is always popular with collectors. A number of Refractor parallels help to increase interest further, making it one of the more popular options at auction. The reverse quote notes;
“JJ rolled the dice in 2007, leaving a secure job as a tight end at Central Michigan for a walk-on position at the Wisconsin defense. The move paid off more than most could have envisioned, as Watt lit up offensive linemen for two years in Madison.In 2010, he garnered First Team All-Big Ten honors and was a Second Team All-American.”
2011 JJ Watt Panini Playoff Contenders RC #137 Autograph (buy on eBay)
JJ’s 2011 Playoff Contenders card is pretty affordable, especially when you factor in the signature at the bottom. For example, a BGS 9.5 grade recently sold for under $100. The quote on the back reads;
“It could be argued that Watt was the most effective rookie in the AFC South in the first three games of 2011. He eased into Houston’s 2-4 defense without a hiccup thanks to a tremendous work ethic. Watt blocked Dan Carpenter’s 22-yard field goal attempt in Week 2, when the Texans dumped Miami, 23-13.”
2011 J.J. Watt Panini Playbook RC #68 (buy on eBay)
An understated card with a prominent autograph at the bottom, this is definitely a high-end option. The following parallels are available;
- Silver Version; Serial Numbered #/299
- Gold #/49
- Platinum #/25
- Green #/5
- Black 1/1
The one-of-one Black version recently sold for a flat $400 at auction, attracting 34 bids. The reverse quote reads;
“In the middle of a team-record seven-game win streak, Watt had seven tackles, five solos, and two sacks in a 20-13 victory in Week 12 in Jacksonville. The former Lott Trophy winner had identical numbers three weeks later vs. Carolina, placing him in the top 10 among rookies in sacks and tackles.”
JJ Watt Rookie Cards Investment Rating?
JJ holds a couple of franchise records for the Texans and managed to claw his way into the 2018 Pro Bowl team after being unpicked for a couple of years. His absences are explained away by two back surgeries in 2016, as well as a broken leg in 2017.
In December 2019, Watt confirmed that he’d suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in a win over the Oakland Raiders. It’s the third time in the last four years that he’s missed more than half of the season.
The question is, will he be able to return to form as he did in 2018, or have years of putting his body on the line finally taken its toll? Robbed of the majority of his prime, Watt is still a legend, (and a potential future Hall of Famer) although he’ll be 31 by the time he plays again. If he stays fit, he’s always dangerous.
Another Pro Bowl pick would increase the average price of his rookie cards, but it is a risk heading into the 2020 season.
6 out of 10 (1 being weak 10 being strong)