Let’s forget about the fact that Titus Young has the personality of a freshly sharpened ice pick for a second, and just assume that he behaves in St. Louis, his new football home after the Rams claimed him off waivers earlier this afternoon. I know, this exercise is going to require some serious imagination skills. Summon your inner Reading Raindow child.
Will we reach a time early next fall when he provides quality fantasy waiver wire value, just as he did for a brief time this year (201 receiving yards between weeks seven and nine, with two touchdowns)?
Again, trying your damndest to envision an entirely separate universe in which Young isn’t a complete douchebag, and is instead merely a talented wide receiver. He’s always had that second part down, which is why he was deemed worthy of a second-round pick by the Lions despite his character concerns. In St. Louis, though, he’ll likely face a similar problem on the depth chart to the one that often led to his frustrations in Detroit: a burial behind other receivers who at worst equal his talents.
In Detroit, it was Nate Burleson and then later Ryan Broyles, and Young’s aforementioned three-week stretch of high-end production came when Burleson tore his ACL. In St. Louis, if he survives the offseason and training camp, Young will be among a gaggle of wideouts behind Danny Amendola that includes Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson. All three (Young, Givens, and Gibson) are deep speed options, with Givens easily leading that category on the outside after he established a new rookie record this past season by recording a reception of 50 yards or more in five straight games. Yeah, he’s sort of pretty fast.
Gibson, Givens, and Amendola were rarely healthy together last year, with the latter missing five games while being limited in others. But despite his injuries, Amendola was still targeted 101 times by Sam Bradford, while the target distribution between Gibson and Givens was pretty even (Gibson had 82, while Givens finished with 80).
Gibson and Amendola are both unrestricted free agents, and while the motivation behind Young’s signing was at least partly to acquire insurance, he’s not leverage. Both wideouts will likely be retained (especially Amendola), because head coach Jeff Fisher surely doesn’t feel comfortable jettisoning two bodies and then having to rely on a meathead who lined up in the wrong spot just to prove a point in Detroit.
If and when that happens, Young’s primary competition for touches will be Givens on the outside. That’s a fight he’ll lose, but Young could still contribute from the slot and provide flex value, a situation that would clearly improve if Gibson is allowed to walk.