As New York Jets’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers fell victim to a season-ending ankle injury after four snaps with the long-beleaguered NFL franchise on Monday, backup Zach Wilson stepped up to lead the team and face off against the Buffalo Bills. And quickly, Wilson’s fantasy football NFTs shot up in value.
Thrust into the national spotlight for a high-stakes matchup against a divisional rival, Wilson’s associated NFTs on DraftKings’ Reignmakers—the fantasy sports firm’s blockchain-based game—promptly surged as Rodgers’ injury grew apparent.
The “elite” version of Wilson’s digital player card on NFL Reignmakers for 2023—a Polygon-based NFT that’s limited to 30 total editions in circulation—sold for between $69 and $99 at kickoff on secondary markets. But less than 10 minutes later, the value of Wilson’s NFTs on secondary markets had jumped to $400 after Rodgers’ injury.
An ESPN broadcast of the game later showed Rodgers in a medical boot, hobbling off a cart to get his ankle X-rayed. By the time Wilson’s team rallied to an overtime victory against the Bills, the backup QB’s aforementioned “elite” NFTs on NFL Reignmakers had been listed for sale as high as $555, with the most recent sale on Monday mustering $285.
The swing in NFT prices captures how quickly fortunes can change in the NFL, where one player’s injury can be a career-defining opportunity for another. In terms of sports, the flux showcases NFTs as assets that can ride an athlete or team’s trajectory.
As in traditional fantasy football or the Ultimate Team game mode that’s become a lucrative staple of EA Sports’ Madden game franchise, DraftKings’ NFL Reignmakers tasks participants with assembling a roster of NFL players to compete against each other.
Points are awarded to players based on their performance, such as a touchdown grab or a given gambit of rushing yards. As rewards, contest winners are paid out in cash, digital “packs” containing players, or specific NFTs, according to DraftKings’ website. DraftKings says that it will give out $30 million worth of prizes this season.
While the umbrella for DraftKings’ NFT fantasy game covers football, the UFC, and the PGA Tour, Reignmakers has garnered over $206 million in total sales over the course of its existence, according to data from CryptoSlam.
As of this writing, the collection has raked in nearly $527,000 in sales over the past day. That places Reignmakers above several popular profile picture NFT collections, such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club and DeGods.