When the Green Bay Packers drafted Matt Flynn in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft, few believed he would ever be a starting quarterback for an NFL team. However, after four years in Green Bay, learning the west coast offense and sitting behind Aaron Rodgers, Flynn has crafted himself into a starting caliber quarterback and will be given a shot at starting, after signing with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason.
Yet what does that mean for Fantasy Football, if Flynn is able to beat out Tavaris Jackson for the starting position, what will his value as a fantasy quarterback be?
With players like Flynn projections can be difficult. He was very impressive in week 17 last season against Detroit , throwing 480 yards and six touchdowns, in one of his two career starts, yet that kind of production can hardly be counted on from him.
Throughout the course of his career, he has thrown just 132 passes, completing over 62 percent, while also throwing nine touchdowns to go along with five interceptions. His career yards per attempt average is 7.6 and career passer rating is 92.8. So the sample size on Flynn is small, however when given a chance to play, generally he has performed pretty well.
Something to consider though, is that when Flynn played, he was playing with one of the best collections of skill players in the league. He had Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and even Randall Cobb to target with his throws. In Seattle, his top targets include Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu along with tight end Zach Miller.
Rice, a one-time pro bowler, has been nagged by injuries that past two seasons, and caught only 32 passes last season, after signing a big-free agent contract to join the Seahawks last offseason. Miller, another key free-agent signing in 2011, averaged 6o catches in his last three season in Oakland, yet had only 22 in his first season with Seattle.
Baldwin led the team with 51 receptions for 788 yards and four touchdowns, after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. Tate came to the team with high expectations after getting selected in the 2nd-round in 2010, yet had just 21 receptions as a rookie and 35 last season. However, Tate showed improvement over the second half of last season. In the first eight games he caught only 11 passes for 96 yards and a td, when over the final eight games he hauled in 24 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, still not overly impressive numbers, but Tate is still just 23 and has the physical ability to be a solid contributor.
Overall, the weapons in Seattle are adequate and have some potential for improvement, particularly if Rice and Miller can revert to their old forms in addition to the continued development of Baldwin and Tate, yet even then, the talent level is lower than in Green Bay, meaning Flynn won't have his previous array of elite pass-catchers to rely on.
Last season in 15 games, Jackson managed to throw for over 3,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Therefore, it seems reasonable for Flynn (if he wins the starting job) to surpass those numbers, especially when considering how effective the run game, headlined by Marshawn Lynch, became at the end of the season. This will take pressure off the quarterback and open up the deep middle of the field.
He is a perfect fit for the west coast system being run by offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell and has dramatically improved as a passer, since entering the league in '08. He also has plenty of toughness and moxy, as well as a flair for play-making. Personally, I think it's a good move for Seattle, Jackson played ok last season but either needs to improve or be replaced and Flynn could help this team possibly contend for a playoff spot if he proves to be an upgrade.
The competition between Flynn and Jackson should be intriguing and even though Flynn is the big free-agent signee, both quarterbacks are making about the same amount of money and neither has received any kind of long-term commitment from the team, so the job is truly up for grabs.
Keeping all this in mind, I believe that Flynn will be named the Seahawks starting quarterback coming out of camp and therefore my early projection for Flynn is approximately 3,300 yards passing, 22 total touchdowns (two rushing) and 13 interceptions.
Those numbers put him in the same category as players like Alex Smith, Matt Cassell, Matt Moore and Ryan Fitzpatrick, which reflects Flynn's status as a backup fantasy quarterback. As long as he is assuredly the starting quarterback heading into the season, he may be worth a late-round pick for owners looking to get a solid backup without investing much. I'd start considering him during rounds 15-16 but earlier than that is a reach. In my eyes, he's more of a priority free-agent for owners to monitor in case he exceeds expectations, their current backup flounders or suffers an injury. He is good enough to be a low-end starter in two-quarterback leagues but in most leagues he should be nothing more than a backup/spot starter.