TE Vance McDonald - Pittsburgh Steelers

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

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Preseason player page

News you need to know

General News (Thu Nov 21): practiced fully on Thursday.

General News (Wed Nov 20): did not practice on Wednesday (he was excused).

Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals - $3500

All TE vs CIN

FBG says: Great matchup. Mason Rudolph escaped last Thursday's melee without a suspension, but he may not be long for the Pittsburgh lineup anyway. He's guided the team to a 4-3 record as the starter, but has yet to show impact-making ability. And last week, a lack of impact wasn't even the problem; sheer ineffectiveness was. Rudolph had his worst game thus far against the Browns, hitting on just 23 of his 44 throws for 221 yards, with a touchdown and 4 interceptions. He was close to a few more giveaways, as well, and has taken a major step backward. Over 4 games since returning from injury, he's produced just 5.9 yards per attempts and 5 touchdowns. His deficiencies have weighed heavily on his receivers, including JuJu Smith-Schuster, who's been held below 45 yards in 4 of his 7 full games since Ben Roethlisberger's injury. He looks unlikely for Sunday after a scary Week 11 concussion, but even if he plays, he'll boast a low fantasy floor. With Rudolph struggling, peripheral options Vance McDonald, Diontae Johnson (also unlikely with a concussion), and James Washington don't factor into the fantasy picture. Names like Johnny Holton, Tevin Jones, and even Deon Cain are now shuffling into this unit, and no one can be trusted. Holton (7 targets last week) could lead the way through all of the injuries, but it's not encouraging that he's caught just a single one of his 13 looks on the season. The Bengals pass defense continues to flounder as one of football's worst. Their raw numbers look passable - they've allowed a middle-of-the-road 266 yards per game and 15 touchdowns. But in terms of efficiency, virtually no unit league-wide has been worse. With little pass rush to speak of, they sit 31st in pressure rate and dead last in sacks. That puts a ton of pressure on the cornerbacks to hold downfield coverage, and they haven't been up to the task. William Jackson and B.W. Webb have been beaten frequently, while safeties Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates have been among the league's weakest in help coverage. The Bengals' soft downfield play has allowed huge games up the seams to the likes of Cooper Kupp (7 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown), Dede Westbrook (6 for 103), and the Ravens tight ends (10 for 131 and 2). Opponents tend to run over these Bengals, which can affect their game flow and volume, keeping raw stats mostly in check. But any passing game - even that of the snakebitten Steelers - takes on a handsome projection boost in this matchup. When these teams faced off in Week 4, Mason Rudolph completed 24 of his 28 throws and fired a pair of touchdowns.

Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPoSNAPRECYDTDFumLSalPtsFP/$
8 vs MIA 60 3.0 19 0 0 3900 4.90 1.26
9 vs IND 51 5.0 30 1 0 4100 14.00 3.41
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 PROJ-Dodds * 3.3 * * * * * *
12 at CIN PROJ-Tremblay * 3.0 * * * * * *
12 at CIN 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.

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Latest News

Steelers | Vance McDonald back on the field (Thu Nov 21, 04:23 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Nov. 21.

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Steelers | Vance McDonald receives day off (Wed Nov 20, 04:12 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.

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Steelers | Three grabs for Vance McDonald (Fri Nov 15, 01:13 AM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald caught three passes for 33 yards on Thursday, Nov. 14, against the Cleveland Browns.

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Steelers | Vance McDonald ready to play (Fri Nov 8, 06:11 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 8, and is not on the injury report for Week 10.

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Steelers | Week 10 injury report for Pittsburgh (Fri Nov 8, 03:15 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder), OG Ramon Foster (concussion), RB Benny Snell (knee) and FB Roosevelt Nix (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 8, and have been ruled out for Week 10 versus the Los Angeles Rams. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot) was added to the injury report after a limited practice Friday and is listed as questionable. RB Trey Edmunds (ribs), LB Mark Barron (non-injury), WR Ryan Switzer (back), TE Vance McDonald (non-injury), C Maurkice Pouncey (non-injury) and DE Tyson Alualu (knee) practiced in full Friday and no longer appear on the injury report.

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Schedule

12@ Cincinnati Bengals
13vs Cleveland Browns
14@ Arizona Cardinals
15vs Buffalo Bills
16@ New York Jets
17@ Baltimore Ravens