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Iowa Football Stock Watch: Load the Boat on LaPorta, Duncan

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Buy the dip, baby!

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa
It’s not often you get a buy low opportunity on Keith Duncan.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a saying on Wall Street, or Main Street, maybe Wall Street, I really don’t know. I heard somewhere that you should buy the f*ckin’ dip. For those of you not actively squandering your precious paychecks on the daily whims of the stock market, the rough translation there is buy when things look bleak. That’s not always easy to do, but when done that’s where you make the most money. If you had simply driven every penny you had into stocks in say, February of 2009, well you wouldn’t likely be reading this from your work computer (or I suppose in today’s world your home computer while you’re supposed to be doing work... from home).

The same applies to football and in particular Iowa football. In 2014, things looked pretty sh*tty in Iowa City (or if we’re staying on brand here and really leaning in to the game day t-shirt market, “Iowa F*ckin’ City”). People wanted Kirk Ferentz fired. They were mailing (lol, yes, sending physical mail) in complaints that they would stop their donations if Kirk wasn’t fired and by God without those donations the athletic department would be so screwed!

Then came 2015.

Now, there is no Iowa football stock, but yours truly did the closest thing to buying it: I re-upped my season ticket donations and thanks to more than a few of those poor bastards following through on their letters, I became the proud new owner of 50-yard line seats roughly a decade before I thought I’d get them. It was a hell of a lot of fun sitting in those fresh seats all of 2015.

Buy the dip.

With the Hawkeyes starting the year 0-2, it was pretty easy to be down on Iowa football heading into last week’s matchup with Michigan State. We should have been buying the dip. That’s not to say that one win against a less than great opponent means this team has everything figured out, but generally speaking things are never as bad as they first seem and we should be buying low.

Last week, we bought stock in Spencer Petras and Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Neither of those were short term money grabs, but rather longer term value buys. They still should be. If you were looking for a more immediate impact on your proverbial college football portfolio, you should have been reading the comment section a week ago for some clairvoyance from our very own BoilerHawk (and beyond hypothetical college player stock, Boiler posts weekly gambling picks so you can actually start making some money off of the guy running analytics on everything from supply chains to adjusted offensive efficiency).

Boiler seems to know a thing or two about football.

In case you missed it, Charlie Jones took one to the house on Saturday and earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Hope you got in at a reasonable price. Also, if the buy recommendation is any indication it’s probably time to get out of the KF game management penny stock you’ve been sitting on.

Boiler wasn’t alone in his genius, however. Everyone’s (only) favorite Iowa State fan Hawkeye Gookin also made a pair of calls that hit less than a week from his call.

Gookin also does psychic readings on the side.

The Iowa running game bounced back big against Michigan State with 226 yards on the ground and four touchdowns, including two each for Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent.

On the flip side of things, Coy Cronk was one of two Iowa offensive linemen to come up missing during pregame warmups. While we’ve (I’ve) speculated that could be COVID-19 related, there are also rumblings it could be the same mono that’s had Jack Cambell sidelined. Whatever the cause, Cronk was out of the lineup Saturday and with just over half the season remaining, he may have been Wally Pipped by Mark Kallenberger, who played really well against the Spartans.

So, what are we doing with our portfolios this week (aside from asking Boiler and Gookin for some hot tips)? Let’s make a couple moves, shall we?

Buy, Buy, Buy!

Sam LaPorta

There are few examples of buying the dip than the opportunity you have on Sam LaPorta right now. Iowa’s #1 tight end, which is pretty freakin’ good given this is Tight End U, was held to just 11 yards on 2 receptions on Saturday. He’s yet to find the end zone (actually, no Iowa receiving threat has except Brandon Smith) and given the way Iowa ran the ball last week it’s easy to forget he even exists with playmakers all over the place on the outside.

But despite the speed of Ihmir Smith-Marsette, vision of Charlie Jones, hands of Brandon Smith, dependability of Nico Ragaini or versatility of Tyrone Tracy, it’s LaPorta who is leading Iowa in both receptions and yards through three games. The last Iowa tight end to lead the team in those categories? T.J. Hockenson.

Keith Duncan

This is admittedly a bit of a cop out, but Keith Duncan missed his first field goal attempt of the season last week and just the 7th of his entire career. Duncan should have won the Groza Award a season ago and is going to again be in the running this year. He pushed a 37-yarder on Saturday that didn’t cost the Hawkeyes anything, but certainly caught Iowa fans off guard. Duncan has been automatic since winning the job last year and you may not have another chance to buy at anything other than all-time highs from here on out.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Iowa’s Secondary

Let me start by reminding you not to hear what I’m not saying. I don’t think the Iowa secondary is bad or that it’s going to start costing Iowa games, but after a Riley Moss pick-six and two other interceptions of Rocky Lombardi, the price on the Iowa secondary is rising as fast as Kirk Ferentz’s eyes when he hears LeVar Woods wants to make a trip to Australia to scout punters.

This week, Iowa is facing off against a Minnesota offense that’s scored the third most points in the conference. The two teams in front of them, Indiana and Ohio State, are both ranked in the top-10 nationally. The Gophers have one of the top receivers in the country with Rashod Bateman back on campus and he will put the Iowa secondary to the test.

I’m not saying you don’t want to own this group, I just don’t think you want to own them this week. Sell your holdings and use the proceeds to buy some call options on the group about halfway through Friday night’s game.

Charlie Jones

The same caveat applies here: don’t hear what I’m not saying. Charlie Jones is dynamic with the ball in his hands and has the potential to be a star over the next two years. But his stock is sky high after last week’s performance.

Digging deeper on Jones, you’ll note despite the absence of Ihmir Smith-Marsette last week, Jones didn’t have a single reception. He had just two rushes, both on plays that will likely run by ISM when he returns. And return ISM will this week. When he does, Jones will likely be relegated to largely punt return duties.

Expect Jones to still do well in that role as he’s top-5 nationally in punt return yardage. The way he set up his return touchdown was a thing of beauty as he hesitated to allows blockers to get set then cut back to his left with the burners in full thrust. The skills are clearly there to be a playmaker on the level of Smith-Marsette in the kick return game. But the touchdown was Iowa’s first on a punt return since 2018. It’s unlikely we see another this year. Without return TDs and a limited offensive role, you aren’t going to get paid for your investment in Jones now. Better to take some profits and invest elsewhere for the time being.

BONUS!

Looking for a little something extra to spend your profits on after cashing in on the advice from Gookin and Boiler? Well here we are. There’s nothing better to do with house money than to squirrel half away and drive the other half into lottery tickets (not actual lottery tickets, I’m talking stocks that could turn your $100 into $10,000). Here’s two more low cost, high potential return ideas.

Long-dated, out of the money LeVar Woods Call Options

For those unfamiliar, options are derivative instruments that allow you to leverage your money. For less cash down you can make a lot more money... or lose a lot more. For our purposes, we’re buying some 2023 LaVar Woods calls (typically for a couple dollars per contract you get the option to buy 100 shares of the stock at the expiration date - 2023 in this case).

Why are we buying Woods calls after his special teams performances the first few weeks have driven up the price of his stock? Because It’s cheaper than buying the stock outright and we’re looking bigger picture with our “free” money.

Under the direction of Woods, the special teams has been the best we’ve seen in Iowa City in quite some time. He’s gotten creative with finding punters (g’day mate!) and shown flexibility with punting style. He’s implemented more fakes and trick plays than any of us could have imagined under a Kirk Ferentz team. And before he was special teams coordinator (e.g. on the same level as Brian and Phil Parker) he held roles as linebackers coach and tight ends coach, coaching up NFL stars Christian Kirksey, Anthony Hitchens, George Kittle, Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s become pretty clear the path for Brian Ferentz as next Iowa head coach is growing more slim. Phil Parker doesn’t seem interested in becoming a head coach. LeVar Woods checks all the boxes. Get in cheap for a potentially big pay off here.

3x Levered Iowa Motion ETF

Look, I told you we were playing lottery tickets here. What better way to squander away exponentially grow your winnings than with a levered ETF? Again, for those unfamiliar, a levered ETF provides you daily returns in line with the underlying stocks, but on steroids. In a 3x levered ETF, your daily return is targeted to be 3x what it would be if you just bought all the stocks in the exchange traded fund.

So what exactly are we doing here? We’re doubling (or more precisely, tripling) down on Brian’s use of motion in the Iowa offense. They talked a lot on the broadcast last week and tnels20 broke it down beautifully in The Rewatch this week, but Iowa is having major success by motioning a receiver or tight end across the formation. They aren’t always handing him the ball, but they are causing hesitation for defensive ends, linebackers and defensive backs that has opened up running lanes.

I know we don’t exactly have a lot of faith in Brian Ferentz to lean in to what’s working, but this Minnesota defense is.... not great. If he goes back to the same bag of tricks that worked against Michigan State, we’re set to see a huge payday with our 3x leverage.


If you’ve made it this far, congratulations on being a degenerate. Please send me my 20% commission via Venmo to @JPinIC. If you’re looking for more ideas, I suggest hitting up Gookin and Boiler.