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TE Vance McDonald - Pittsburgh Steelers

6-4, 267Born: 6-13-1990College: RiceDrafted: Round 2, pick 2013

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Week 15: vs New England Patriots

All TE vs NE

FBG says: Neutral matchup. Even on his shakier days, Ben Roethlisberger is always a top fantasy consideration. With great weekly volume and the league's best one-two punch at receiver, Roethlisberger rarely disappoints in terms of counting stats. Here in 2018, he's posting his best yardage rates in half a decade, and his 325 yards per game is just a shade off his career-high (328 in 2015). Taking advantage of an elite front line - even without right tackle Marcus Gilbert - Roethlisberger is airing the ball out aggressively and connecting more often than not. There are certain weeks in which his erratic tendencies come out, and interceptions doom his Steelers on the real-life field. Roethlisberger has thrown 6 picks over the last 4 weeks, and 13 on the season. Still, this passing game is loaded with week-to-week, matchup-proof dynamism. Antonio Brown was shut down last Sunday, but has posted 86 receptions on the year and found the end zone in 10 of 13 games. On the other side, JuJu Smith-Schuster is simply exploding, routinely taking advantage of single coverage and creating huge plays. He's actually outproducing Brown, with 91 catches of his own and 95 yards per game, and he shredded the Raiders for 130 and 2 touchdowns last week. Those two make up most of this attack, but they're easily producing enough to keep themselves - and Roethlisberger - among the fantasy elites each week. The Patriots pass defense remains an inconsistent unit, but it's stronger than the counting stats suggest. They've allowed the league's 10th-most passing yards and ninth-most touchdowns, but sit middle-of-the-pack in efficiency (just 6.4 net yards per attempt). Over the past 5 weeks, opposing passers have averaged just 246 yards per game - 235 if we discount last week's wild last-play rally. In true Bill Belichick fashion, this is a group that tends to focus its attention on one or two key matchups and lets one opposing receiver go wild. Last week, for example, they gave up 135 yards to Kenny Stills, but no other Dolphin topped 23 (again, excluding the final play). In their Week 9 showdown with the Packers, rookie speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling racked up 101, while Davante Adams and Randall Cobb combined for just 64 on 15 targets. There are definitely holes here to exploit - outside cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty are fairly inconsistent, and the inside guys have been bad for much of the year. But as long as they ride Belichick's scheme, the Patriots are able to keep most of an opposing pass game in check. That suggests big Week 15 things for either Antonio Brown or JuJu Smith-Schuster, but likely not for both.

Recent Stats and Projections

11 at JAX 52 3 27 1 0 8.7
12 at DEN 33 3 27 0 0 2.7
13 vs LAC 44 4 28 0 0 2.8
14 at OAK 38 4 37 0 0 3.7
15 vs NE PROJ-Dodds * 3 * * * *
15 vs NE PROJ-Tremblay * 4 * * * *
15 vs NE PROJ-Bloom * 4 * * * *

Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24

Percentile ranks

Vance McDonald's percentile rank in each category, among TE with more than 50 fantasy points.

Recent Game Summaries

2018 Week 14 vs OAK (4 / 4 / 37 / 0 rec)

McDonald continues to be as efficient a target as you'll find, securing 4 of his 4 targets today, and securing 73% of his targets over the season. McDonald did not find the end zone this week, but his impact by taking additional coverage off the top two wide receivers and exploiting the extra coverage those two wide receivers draw. During the second quarter the Raiders had a miscommunication and left McDonald uncovered in the middle of the field.

2018 Week 13 vs LAC (7 / 4 / 28 / 0 rec)

McDonald had another quiet game in Week 13. Even with Roethlisberger over 40 pass attempts McDonald is only able to account for four receptions, his lower total since Week 8, and 28 yards. In fact, Vance McDonald has averaged 30.2 receiving yards over his last five games. While McDonald's recent yardage has been low, he has an optimistic upside.

2018 Week 12 vs DEN (5 / 3 / 27 / 0 rec)

McDonald, like so many others in this game, was so close to contributing to a Steelers victory. The Steelers were at the two-yard line and McDonald was targeted in the end zone for his easies touchdown reception of the season. No one was close, and he dropped the ball. So instead of scoring six points, the Steelers lined up for the field goal and ran a fake field goal for a touchdown. McDonald left Week 12s game with a hip injury and did not return.

2018 Week 11 vs JAX (6 / 3 / 27 / 1 rec)

The numbers aren't gaudy, but McDonald was a reliable target for Ben Roethlisberger in Week 11. McDonald was used mostly on screen passes to try and get Ben Roethlisberger in rhythm. McDonald's touchdown catch came in the fourth quarter to put the Steelers within one score of winning the game. The reception was a high point catch in the back of the end zone showing how much confidence Ben Roethlisberger has in his tight end.

2018 Week 10 vs CAR (4 / 4 / 44 / 1 rec)

The numbers aren't always gaudy but watching Vance McDonald's usage be optimized by the Steelers is a thing of beauty. On McDonald's touchdown catch Ben Roethlisberger threw right down the middle of the field and McDonald made the fingertip catch.

2018 Week 9 vs BAL (6 / 3 / 25 / 0 rec)

Even in the weeks where McDonald is quiet he is close to breaking off the long play or finds other ways to contribute. In the first quarter McDonald had an easy catch on an out route where the defender trailed McDonald the entire way. If it wasn't for the defender making a shoestring tackle, McDonald would've gone for more than 9-yards. McDonald continued to contribute, without the ball in his hands, but freeing JuJu Smith-Schuster on a rub route occupying two defenders. Before the end of the half McDonald had two plays which could have led to turnovers. On the first McDonald caught the ball and was initially ruled to have fumbled the ball and the Ravens took the ball back for a touchdown. The review of the play was overturned, and McDonald was ruled down by contact. The second play had McDonald streaking down the field and Ben Roethlisberger hitting him in stride. McDonald did not secure the pass before continuing upfield and it slipped out of his hands. The play not only could have gained big yardage.

2018 Week 8 vs CLE (3 / 3 / 47 / 0 rec)

It feels like every time McDonald touches the ball he is close to breaking a long play. Vance McDonald was lined up as a fullback in the offense and received a screen pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter. McDonald shed a tackler and drug another defender who was holding on to his leg for a seven-yard gain. McDonald was not called on to be a double-digit target receiving tight end in this game, but his presence was felt as an effective blocker and he did not allow the linebackers to creep up and commit to the run.

2018 Week 6 vs CIN (8 / 7 / 68 / 0 rec)

The presence of Vance McDonald and all of the tight ends should not be understated. To start Week 6, Roethlisberger did not complete his first pass to a tight end until the Steelers third possession and almost the end of the first quarter. Starting the game McDonald continued his physical domination of the league when he broke a 26-yard run on a crossing route. McDonald was like a bull in a china shop running through two tackles and flipping the Steelers field position on one catch. The following play McDonald was open in the middle of the field for an 11-yard gain where Roethlisberger had almost four seconds to throw the ball.

2018 Week 4 vs BAL (5 / 5 / 62 / 0 rec)

Last week Vance McDonald stiff-armed a defender through a wall. This week McDonald continued displaying his superhuman level athleticism as he caught an inbreaking route, broke a tackle, and drug two defenders for an additional three yards. Following McDonald's heroic catch Antonio Browns scored his touchdown. The Ravens were able to smother McDonald in the second half taking away the middle of the field.

2018 Week 3 vs TB (5 / 4 / 112 / 1 rec)

Almost all of McDonald's production came on one play. The play itself was simple outward breaking route by Vance McDonald. McDonald threw the defender to the ground and scored a 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter


Latest News

Steelers | Vance McDonald produces little (Mon Dec 3, 01:45 AM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald caught four passes for 28 yards against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Dec. 2.

link to story   

Steelers | Vance McDonald on track to play (Fri Nov 30, 04:23 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (hip) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 30, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.

Our View: McDonald's hip injury doesn't look like it will limit him on Sunday against the Chargers. He's a solid streamer with the strong cornerback play by Los Angeles possibly encouraging Ben Roethlisberger to throw more to his tight ends.
link to story   

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Links

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15vs New England Patriots
16@ New Orleans Saints
17vs Cincinnati Bengals