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 Dec 2): McDonald has been a non-factor lately, but he gets the Cardinals this week. Enough said.

General News (Fri Dec 6): practiced fully on Friday and is not on the team's injury report. He will be available to play this week.

General News (Thu Dec 5): practiced fully on Thursday.

General News (Wed Dec 4): did not practice on Wednesday (he was excused).

Week 14: at Arizona Cardinals - $4300

All TE vs ARI

FBG says: Good matchup. It's hard to call young Devlin Hodges a polished prospect. He's being managed very closely and given very little downfield opportunity, with the Steelers running heavily to protect him. Still, his steady-ish play has been a noticeable upgrade on the mistake-prone Mason Rudolph. Hodges has shown the spark of a dynamic connection with wideout James Washington, who's topped 90 yards in 3 of his last 4 games. The pair hooked up on three fantastic, well-contested deep balls last week, making for the most excitement this attack has seen in over a month. Washington would still hold some fantasy value even if JuJu Smith-Schuster can return - he doesn't look likely to - but offers week-winning potential as Hodges' No. 1 target. With the lack of volume at play, though, there's not much stability or upside to be found anywhere else. No. 2 wideout Diontae Johnson have combined to post just 115 yards over the past 3 weeks. The Cardinals opened the year struggling against the pass, but this unit has now plummeted to the bottom of the league by just about every measure. Not even the Week 7 return of All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson has helped stop the bleeding. The numbers have been staggering: they've allowed 420+ yards in back-to-back games, and 315+ in 6 of their last seven. Over those 7 games they've surrendered 19 touchdowns through the air, and 7 different receivers have recorded 100+ yards. Peterson has suffered through his worst season as a pro, and rookie Byron Murphy has been even worse across the field. Of course, the Cardinals have gained the most notoriety here in 2019 for their ineptitude against tight ends. The linebackers and safeties have been historically poor in coverage up the seams. They've already allowed 6 different tight ends to top 75 yards - 4 of them cleared 100 - with an astonishing 13 touchdowns along the way. Vance McDonald has largely faded from the Pittsburgh gameplan, but he couldn't ask for a better time to get more involved.

Recent Stats and Projections

10 vs LAR 72 3.0 11 0 0 3800 4.30 1.13
11 at CLE 71 3.0 33 0 0 3700 6.30 1.70
12 at CIN 63 1.0 1 0 0 3500 1.10 0.31
13 vs CLE 54 3.0 21 0 0 3400 5.10 1.50
14 at ARI PROJ-Dodds * 3.6 * * * * * *
14 at ARI PROJ-Tremblay * 2.8 * * * * * *
14 at ARI PROJ-Bloom * 4.0 * * * * * *

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 11 vs CLE (7 / 3 / 33 / 0 rec - 6.3 points, $3700)

The target volume is high, but the quality of the targets was low. Every target McDonald had to work for and when he was targeted it was in traffic with Cleveland Browns defenders draped on him or the target was in traffic with no room to work. McDonald was not given the opportunity to maximize his targets in deeper parts of the field.

2019 Week 10 vs LAR (7 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec, 1 / 2 / 0 rush - 4.3 points, $3800)

The target share was there, but the optimized targets weren't. McDonald started the game with what looked like a simple grab over the middle of the field, which was dropped. Luckily, McDonald drew a personal foul and was able to help advance the ball 15-yards down the field. Of McDonald's eleven yards through the air, nine of them came on a single play. McDonald made the reception over the middle of the field and was met immediately by a defender. McDonald was able to shed the defender and was able to work after first contact. McDonald fumbled the ball at the end of the run, but it was recovered by Juju Smith-Schuster.

2019 Week 9 vs IND (7 / 5 / 30 / 1 rec - 14 points, $4100)

With Mason Rudolph pass plays stay close to the line of scrimmage and playmakers will be left to work on their own. McDonald does well in those situations. In the third quarter, after recovering a fumble from the Colts. The Steelers were marching down the field. On third and goal at the seven-yard line, Rudolph finds McDonald right in front of the end zone. Because of where the pass was delivered, McDonald shields the ball from the defenders and lunges for the only offensive touchdown of the evening.

2019 Week 8 vs MIA (4 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec - 4.9 points, $3900)

McDonald's performance was forgettable in Week 8 against the Steelers. When McDonald was targeted, it was as a fourth option behind Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Conner. Even with Mason Rudolph finally throwing the ball more than five-yards beyond the line of scrimmage, McDonald was only able to achieve an 8.8 aDOT.

2019 Week 6 vs LAC (1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec - 1.5 points, $3800)

McDonald, like most of the non-running back skill position players, was not involved much in the receiving game. McDonald's line pass was on a speed out. Devlin Hodges' timing, rhythm and placement of the ball, but McDonald was not targeted again for the entire game. Fortunately, not all big impacts happen on the stat sheet. McDonald was active all night in the blocking game. In fact, McDonald's combination block is what sprung James Conner for his first touchdown of the game.

2019 Week 5 vs BAL (3 / 3 / 34 / 0 rec - 6.4 points, $3800)

Welcome back to the offense Vance McDonald. In McDonald's first game back after a severe shoulder injury, his presence was immediately felt in the short game. McDonald was targeted on Mason Rudolph's third pass attempt of the game. In the third quarter, after Rudolph left the game, McDonald was hit for a short pass on a simple out route. McDonald exploded up the field and broke a tack to take the ball all the way to the 1-yard line to set up a Steelers touchdown for the lead.

2019 Week 3 vs SF (2 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec - 2 points, $4300)

Things started slowly for McDonald, again, after not seeing his first target until the Steelers' fourth drive of the game in the second quarter. McDonald was able to take a short screen pass for a first down. McDonald saw his second target on this same drive, but the pass was high and McDonald injured his shoulder. He would not return for the rest of the game and was replaced by plodding Xavier Grimble.

2019 Week 2 vs SEA (7 / 7 / 38 / 2 rec - 22.8 points, $3900)

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 - 6 points, $4000)

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.


Latest News

Steelers | Vance McDonald not on injury report (Fri Dec 6, 03:29 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is not on the injury report for Week 14.

Our View: McDonald has the best tight end matchup in the league this week in Arizona and should be in your lineup if you're streaming or in your DFS lineup if you need a cheap option.
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Steelers | Pittsburgh's Week 14 injury report (Fri Dec 6, 02:57 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) was unable to practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 14 versus the Arizona Cardinals. RB James Conner (shoulder) was limited in practice all week and has also been ruled out. LB Mark Barron (knee, non-injury) was limited Friday, Dec. 6, but no longer appears on the injury report. WR Diontae Johnson (illness), TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) and OG Ramon Foster (non-injury) practiced in full Friday and also have been removed from the injury report.

Our View: Benny Snell and James Washington will get a lot more work in place of Conner and Smith-Schuster and both are worth plays this week against the weak Cardinals defense.
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Steelers | Vance McDonald fully practices (Thu Dec 5, 04:22 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 5.

Our View: McDonald has stayed healthy this year and he has the best matchup for tight ends in fantasy this week at Arizona. He's worth a look in DFS lineups and if you are streaming tight ends in the playoffs.
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Steelers | Vance McDonald doesn't practice (Wed Dec 4, 04:15 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Our View: Just a day of rest here for McDonald. The Steelers play the Cardinals on Sunday...and the Cardinals can't cover tight ends. Expect McDonald to be a solid streaming option in Week 14.
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Steelers | Vance McDonald limited to 21 yards (Sun Dec 1, 05:22 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald posted three grabs for 21 yards on three targets in Week 13 against the Cleveland Browns.

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More News

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Links

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Footballguys Articles

The Best of Footballguys Week 14
  Matt Waldman - December 6
Roundtable Week 14
  FBG Staff - December 5
DraftKings GPP Domination: Week 12
  Phil Alexander - November 22
Roundtable Week 5
  FBG Staff - October 2
Roundtable Week 3
  FBG Staff - September 18
Lie Detector Test: How to Sniff Out Coachspeak
  Ryan Hester - August 22
TipAndPick's: Tips and Picks, DK Edition
  John Lee - December 7
#Trendspotting: Week 14
  Ryan Hester - December 5
DFS Roundtable: Bounce-Back or Stay Away
  Chad Parsons - December 5
Week 14 Tight End Tiers
  Sigmund Bloom - December 5

Articles from around the web

Vance McDonald: Your Typical Seventh-Year Breakout Tight End
  Bennie Contrino - May 28
Fantasy football preseason preview: Quarterbacks
  David Dorey - June 6
Tight End Drafting: Finding the Next George Kittle
  Justin Weigal - June 7
Which Duds From 2018 Will Be Studs in 2019?
  Mike Tagliere - June 12
Target Share Risers
  Josh Shepardson - June 13
Fantasy Football Preseason Preview: Receivers
  David Dorey - June 21
Expected fantasy points: The most and least efficient fantasy tight ends
  Scott Barrett - June 26
100 facts for the 2019 fantasy football season
  Matthew Berry - July 2
Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Is the third-year receiver theory still relevant? JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kenny Golladay lead the class
  Jamey Eisenberg - July 5
Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Projections Week -- TE tier rankings
  Heath Cummings - July 5


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16@ New York Jets
17@ Baltimore Ravens