What a long, strange trip it has been for Matt Flynn over the past couple seasons. The journeyman quarterback has taken his talents all across the country, but he is now back where it all began and he has seemingly made himself a viable fantasy option.
With starter Aaron Rodgers on the shelf and backup Scott Tolzien playing ineffectively, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy turned to Flynn in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Flynn finished the day with 218 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly he led the Pack from 16 points down to salvage a tie. NFL.com's fantasy football guru Michael Fabiano was excited about the performance:
Flynn wasn't dominant by any means. However, he clearly seemed comfortable within McCarthy's offense, and the Packers were a better team with him under center than they were with Tolzien running the show.
As the old Johnny Cash hit goes, Flynn has been everywhere since the end of the 2011 campaign.
Prior to the 2012 season, Flynn left Green Bay via free agency and signed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks. His tenure there was short-lived as he was beaten out for the starting job by rookie Russell Wilson.
This prompted Seattle to trade him to the Oakland Raiders, but he was once again usurped by a young upstart—in the form of Terrelle Pryor—and was ultimately released. Flynn was eventually scooped up by the Buffalo Bills; however, after a few weeks on the roster he was cut again due to the return of rookie signal-caller EJ Manuel, who had been out with an injury.
Just when it seemed like the 28-year-old LSU product was down and out, the Packers came calling. Green Bay's quarterback problems were compounded when it had to place Seneca Wallace on injured reserve, so the Packers smartly turned to a familiar face who just so happened to be on the market.
Flynn filled in for Rodgers in a more-than-admirable fashion on a couple occasions during his first tenure with the Packers, and he proved again on Sunday that he can get the job done in Green Bay's offense.
As ESPN's Skip Bayless put it, there's a very good chance that Green Bay would have won rather than tied on Sunday had McCarthy started Flynn rather than turning to him in relief.
Whatever the case, Flynn is now clearly the best option for the Packers until Rodgers is able to return.
The big question relates to when exactly that return will come to fruition. According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Rodgers was able to throw the ball without pain early last week. There are other factors related to his broken clavicle, though. Rodgers said:
I think the biggest issue is not the pain at this point. It is the risk of taking a shot like that and what it would do if [the collarbone] displaced. Obviously, I'd be out for the season and worried about any type of complications going forward.
Since the Packers play against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving in Week 13, Rodgers only has a couple more days to get ready. It may not be an impossible feat, but there hasn't been any indication from the Packers that his return is imminent this week.
With that in mind, conventional wisdom suggests that Flynn will be under center. He's no Rodgers, but he does have a well-documented history of success against the Lions.
In fact, the deal that Flynn signed with Seattle was based almost entirely upon the numbers he put up against Detroit in a spot start late in the 2011 season. Flynn famously threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns as he outdueled Matthew Stafford in a 45-41 victory.
Flynn isn't the exact same quarterback he was then, the Lions defense isn't the same as it was then and Flynn won't be throwing to the same weapons he utilized then. Even so, it's hard not to like Flynn's matchup if you're in dire need of a fantasy quarterback in Week 13.
The Lions are among the worst teams in the league against the pass as they surrender nearly 277 yards per game through the air and have allowed 21 passing touchdowns to boot. In fact, they've been especially bad over the past two weeks.
After allowing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to throw for 367 yards and four touchdowns in Week 11, Detroit was handled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Mike Glennon in Week 12 to the tune of 247 yards and two scores.
Even if Flynn lands somewhere in the middle, that will be counted as a fantastic fantasy performance.
Since bye weeks are over, fantasy owners don't have to deal with their starting quarterback being off, but injuries are a factor. People with Rodgers on their team have probably been forced to play the matchup game at quarterback in recent weeks, and there may be no better matchup this week than Flynn against Detroit—assuming Rodgers once again has to sit this one out.
Flynn is obviously worth nothing from a fantasy perspective the moment Rodgers returns, but until that day comes, Flynn is definitely worth adding if you're suffering through some quarterback woes.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter