TE Vance McDonald - Pittsburgh Steelers

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

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Photo: Ken Blaze, US Presswire

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Preseason player page

News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Sep 16): McDonald was a big part of the short passing game once Mason Rudolph came in, which bodes well for his weekly fantasy floor. He's a low TE1 against the 49ers this week.

General News (Thu Sep 19): practiced fully on Thursday.

General News (Wed Sep 18): partially participated in Wednesday's practice.

General News (Mon Sep 16): was evaluated for a possible concussion during the Week 2 game, but he cleared the concussion protocol and returned to the game.

Week 3: at San Francisco 49ers

All TE vs SF

FBG says: Neutral matchup. The Steelers have faced stretches without Ben Roethlisberger, who's no stranger to the injury report, before. But they're now staring down 14 games with *** Mason Rudolph at the helm. Rudolph looked plenty competent as a Week 2 fill-in, going 12 of 19 for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns, with an interception that resulted from yet another Donte Moncrief drop. Still, expectations must be tempered. Unlike the Seahawks, the 49ers will have the week to watch and prepare for Rudolph's traits. They'll focus on taking away his key targets, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Vance McDonald, and forcing him to win with the intuition and experience he doesn't yet have. On the plus side, he'll benefit from working behind an elite offensive line. Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro are the big names up front but left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is the team's premier pass-blocker. Roethlisberger has taken fewer and fewer sacks over the past few years, so protection shouldn't be an issue for Rudolph. The burning questions revolve around his ability to get the ball to those playmakers on-target. Rudolph did a great job of spreading it around Sunday, throwing to seven different receivers in the second half. Still, this attack will still go through Smith-Schuster and McDonald. The latter caught two short touchdowns late in the game, while the former made a great 45-yard play shortly after Rudolph stepped in. Overall, it's rarely wise to trust a first-time starting quarterback on the road. Rudolph may find himself in a better situation than most, but he still carries far more questions regarding this passing game than answers. The 49ers have opened the season much stronger against the pass than they were in 2018. After harassing Jameis Winston into a flurry of interceptions in the opener, they forced Andy Dalton and the Bengals into an ineffective Week 2. It's too early to truly gauge their progress, but this isn't an ideal first start for the Steelers' Mason Rudolph. The 49ers boast a talented, versatile pass rush up front and shutdown potential in the secondary. At age 31, Richard Sherman remains an elite cover man on the 49ers' left side. He blanketed Mike Evans for much of Week 1, then Tyler Boyd from the Bengals' game plan last Sunday. Sherman doesn't shadow, though, nor does he move down into the slot. K'Waun Williams, one of the league's weaker slot men, will be tasked with JuJu Smith-Schuster for most of this game. That's a clear trouble spot that Rudolph will look to exploit, so the 49ers will deploy a handful of bodies to slow Smith-Schuster. It will then be up to Sherman and pleasant surprise Ahkello Witherspoon to lock down the boundaries, which they've done so well thus far. Funneling the ball to the middle would force Rudolph to spend the day throwing scary passes into traffic.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPoSNAPRECYDTDFumLPts
1 at NE 49 2.0 40 0 0 4
2 vs SEA 52 7.0 38 2 0 15.8
3 at SF PROJ-Dodds * 4.2 * * * *
3 at SF PROJ-Tremblay * 3.9 * * * *
3 at SF PROJ-Bloom * 5.0 * * * *

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

2019 Week 2 vs SEA (7 / 7 / 38 / 2 rec)

After not seeing a target until the fourth quarter of Week 1, the Steelers were making an effort to get McDonald involved early and often. In fact, Vance McDonald's first reception came on the first play of the game. While it was only a simple screen, McDonald almost broke away from potential tacklers. McDonald provided good yards after the catch ability, which Ryan Switzer was lacking in Week 1, and a good end zone presence once Mason Rudolph entered the game. In fact, both of Vance McDonald's touchdowns on the day were from Mason Rudolph. On the first touchdown, Vance McDonald sat down in a soft spot of the coverage. After he made the reception, McDonald turned into a running back and carried defenders into the end zone with him. If McDonald's first touchdown catch was a class on power running after the catch, we should consider McDonald second touchdown reception a class on hands and being where you are supposed to be. After turning his back to the defense, Mason Rudolph turned around to find Vance McDonald in position for an easy touchdown pass.

2019 Week 1 vs NE (4 / 2 / 40 / 0 rec)

The reports during the offseason often talked about how involved Vance McDonald would be, how he would rarely come off the field, and how he would step up as the second impact receiving option to Juju Smith-Schuster. In Sunday night's match-up Vance McDonald was impactful in his lack of production. McDonald was held in check until deep in the fourth when he managed his first reception of the game on a third down and long. McDonald's second reception only came because the Patriots, for some reason, chose to call a timeout before the past play of the game which allowed the Steelers to run one more plan.

More

Latest News

Steelers | Vance McDonald gets in full practice (Thu Sep 19, 06:07 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (back) was upgraded to a full participant in practice Thursday, Sept. 19.

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Steelers | Vance McDonald limited (Wed Sep 18, 05:44 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (back) was limited during practice Wednesday, Sept. 18.

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Steelers | Vance McDonald briefly leaves game (Sun Sep 15, 01:50 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (head) was evaluated for a possible concussion during the Week 2 game but he cleared the concussion protocol and returned to the game.

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Steelers | Vance McDonald held in check (Mon Sep 9, 01:57 AM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald caught two of his four targets for 40 yards in Week 1 against the New England Patriots.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Team Links

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Schedule

3@ San Francisco 49ers
4vs Cincinnati Bengals
5vs Baltimore Ravens
6@ Los Angeles Chargers
7--- BYE WEEK ---
8vs Miami Dolphins
9vs Indianapolis Colts
10vs Los Angeles Rams
11@ Cleveland Browns
12@ Cincinnati Bengals
13vs Cleveland Browns
14@ Arizona Cardinals
15vs Buffalo Bills
16@ New York Jets
17@ Baltimore Ravens