McDonald announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday.
Analysis: The 30-year-old caught 15 of 20 targets for 99 yards in 14 contests for the Steelers during 2020 to cap off an eight-year career. McDonald split said career between San Francisco and Pittsburgh, catching 181 passes for 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns in 101 career games.
Jan 22, 2021 7:23 AM EST
McDonald brought in five of his six targets for 33 yards in Sunday's 24-22 loss to Cleveland.
Analysis: McDonald saw a season-high six targets Sunday with Eric Ebron on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the regular-season finale. He was much more productive after totaling just five yards over the past five weeks, but he still finished with a disappointing regular season. The 30-year-old missed two games earlier in the season, but his production has steadily declined over the past two years. He was targeted just 20 times during the regular season, tallying 15 receptions for 99 yards. It wouldn't be surprising to see his $5.2 million team option declined during the offseason, and he'll likely see minimal usage during the playoffs this year if Ebron returns to full health.
Jan 4, 2021 11:48 AM EST
McDonald hauled in his lone target for five yards in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts.
Analysis: McDonald was on the field for a season-high 60 offensive snaps in Pittsburgh's Week 15 loss after Eric Ebron exited the contest in the first half. However, McDonald logged just 16 offensive snaps against Indianapolis as Ebron returned to the field in Week 16. The 30-year-old has been targeted just three times over the past five weeks, and his reception Sunday was his first since Week 9.
Dec 28, 2020 11:38 AM EST
McDonald was not targeted on 60 offensive snaps during Monday night's 27-17 loss to the Bengals.
Analysis: The veteran tight end broke 65 percent of the offensive snap share for the first time this season, garnering a whopping 92 percent of the workload against division rival Cincinnati. Eric Ebron's first-half exit from a back injury led to the massive uptick in usage for McDonald, but the 30-year-old still went without a reception for a fourth consecutive outing. His best performance came by way of a three-catch, 35-yard Week 3 output, but McDonald has otherwise not exceeded 15 receiving yards in a game this season. He also remains without a touchdown after scoring three times in 2019.
Dec 22, 2020 5:22 PM EST
McDonald failed to secure either of his two targets in Sunday's 26-15 loss to the Bills.
Analysis: McDonald's snap count has been relatively consistent in the three weeks since he returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he's been targeted just twice during that time. Even while Eric Ebron has struggled with drops recently, McDonald has been unable to carve out a significant role within the pass-heavy Pittsburgh offense. The 30-year-old has recorded just nine receptions for 61 yards over 11 games this year.
Dec 14, 2020 1:59 PM EST
McDonald was not targeted over his 28 offensive snaps during Monday's 23-17 loss to Washington.
Analysis: The 30-year-old has exceeded 15 receiving yards on only one occasion over 10 appearances this season, and he remains without a touchdown after chalking up seven combined between 2018 and 2019. McDonald has been far less involved as a pass catcher this season compared to last, with just nine catches and 61 yards to his name through 10 outings. Over 14 appearances in 2019, the Rice standout went for 38 receptions, 273 yards and three scores with 2.8 more targets per game.
Dec 8, 2020 5:32 PM EST
McDonald played 39 percent of offensive snaps during Wednesday's 19-14 win over the Ravens, but he wasn't targeted.
Analysis: McDonald returned from the COVID-19 list in time for Wednesday's divisional contest, but as usual it was Eric Ebron (11 targets) who commanded Ben Roethlisberger's attention at the tight end position. With just nine catches for 61 yards on the year, it's safe to say that McDonald is off the fantasy radar in most formats.
Dec 4, 2020 10:09 AM EST
McDonald (illness) has been added to the Steelers' active roster, the Teresa Varley of the team's official site reports.
Analysis: McDonald returned to practice this week after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Nov. 10 and is now eligible to suit up Sunday against the Ravens. Through his first eight games this season, McDonald has caught nine passes (on 11 targets) for 61 yards, numbers that keep him off the radar in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.
Nov 26, 2020 2:17 PM EST
The Steelers don't list McDonald (illness) on Tuesday's injury report, Teresa Varley of the team's official site reports.
Analysis: After being activated from the COVID-19 list earlier in the day, McDonald's absence from the injury report implies he was able to take every rep in practice. However, since McDonald has missed two games after testing positive for the coronavirus and is facing a quick turnaround with the Steelers playing the Ravens on Thursday night, the team could err on the side of caution and make the tight end inactive this week if he still needs more time to ramp up to full speed.
Nov 24, 2020 1:55 PM EST
McDonald (illness) is expected to be activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and return to practice Tuesday, but offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said the team hasn't decided whether the tight end will be available to play Thursday against the Ravens, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Though he's cleared all COVID-19-related protocols after testing positive for the virus Nov. 8, McDonald may need some additional time to get back to full speed after missing the Steelers' last two games. If McDonald can't play Week 12, the Steelers wouldn't have much in the way of depth behind top tight end Eric Ebron, as third-string option Zach Gentry (knee) is headed for injured reserve.
Nov 24, 2020 7:42 AM EST
Coach Mike Tomlin said Monday that McDonald (illness) has been cleared to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports reports.
Analysis: Tomlin also said that McDonald, who has missed back-to-back games, is scheduled to resume practicing Tuesday. The veteran tight end thus is on track to be available for Thursday night's divisional matchup against the Ravens. With Zach Gentry (knee) reportedly dealing with a serious injury, McDonald's return from the COVID-19 list is well timed for the Steelers.
Nov 23, 2020 9:20 AM EST
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that McDonald (reserve/COVID-19 list) won't be available to play Sunday against the Bengals, Chris Adamski of TribLive.com reports.
Analysis: McDonald's Week 10 absence comes as no surprise after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. According to Alan Saunders of the Associated Press, McDonald experienced cold-like symptoms at practice last Friday, but he was cleared to play in the Steelers' Week 9 win over the Cowboys after testing negative for COVID-19 three times in a row. After Monday's positive test, however, McDonald will have to self-quarantine before potentially rejoining the Steelers in Week 11 if he's symptom-free and testing negative again. On Tuesday, the Steelers placed four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list who were determined to be high-risk close contacts of McDonald, but Tomlin is hopeful each of those players will be available against the Bengals if they continue to test negative throughout the week.
Nov 10, 2020 9:15 AM EST
The Steelers placed McDonald (illness) on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports.
Analysis: McDonald's placement on the reserve list follows a report from Pittsburgh stating that a player has tested positive for COVID-19. The veteran tight end missed Friday's practice due to what was labeled an 'illness' and was listed as questionable for Sunday's win over the Cowboys, but he ultimately suited up and played 24 snaps.
Nov 9, 2020 2:06 PM EST
McDonald (illness) is active for Sunday's Week 9 tilt against the Cowboys.
Analysis: The reserve tight end was apparently dealing with a non-COVID illness late in the week, but he's gotten past it and will work in his usual role behind starter Eric Ebron. McDonald has logged just 10 targets through seven games, parlaying them into an 8-59 line.
Nov 8, 2020 12:05 PM EST
McDonald is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Cowboys due to an illness, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Analysis: The Steelers didn't include McDonald on either of their first two Week 9 injury reports, but the tight end was added Friday after his illness prevented him from practicing Friday. With Eric Ebron clearing 80 percent of the Steelers' offensive snaps in the team's past two games, McDonald has naturally noticed a role reduction as the Steelers' No. 2 tight end. He's played less than half of the snaps in both of those contests, drawing only two targets between those games.
Nov 6, 2020 11:04 AM EST
McDonald was not targeted on 21 offensive snaps during Sunday's 28-24 loss to Baltimore.
Analysis: McDonald went untargeted for the second time in three weeks against the Ravens, while Eric Ebron has compiled 12 receptions, 107 yards and a touchdown over the same span. Ebron has also attracted 5.8 targets per game since Week 2, clearly showing him as the preferred pass-catching option compared to McDonald's 1.3 targets-per-game average over his past six appearances. Pittsburgh faces a Dallas defense in Week 9 that has surrendered four tight end touchdowns through eight outings, but McDonald remains a longshot to score with just one red-zone target in 2020.
Nov 3, 2020 7:36 PM EST
McDonald hauled in both of his targets for 14 yards in Sunday's 27-24 win over the Titans.
Analysis: After seeing just one target over the past two weeks, McDonald was slightly more involved in the offense in the team's Week 7 matchup. While it was encouraging to see the 30-year-old get some involvement, his target share was quite limited, especially considering that the Steelers attempted 49 passes in a favorable matchup against the Titans. McDonald has been targeted just 10 times over the first six weeks of the season, recording eight receptions for 59 yards.
Oct 26, 2020 9:50 AM EST
McDonald was not targeted on any of his 40 offensive snaps during Sunday's 38-7 win against the Browns.
Analysis: The veteran tight end was right on trajectory with his usual workload in Week 6, as he had averaged 39 offensive snaps per game over Pittsburgh's first four outings of the year. The Steelers ran it on the Browns 37 times compared to just 23 pass attempts, having jumped out to a dominant 24-0 advantage by the 5:43 mark of the second quarter. McDonald may see more work in the passing game Week 7 against the Titans in what figures to be a highly-competitive clash, and he has a decent chance of falling into the end zone with Tennessee already having surrendered four touchdowns to opposing TEs on the season.
Oct 20, 2020 5:49 PM EST
McDonald recorded one catch for four yards in Sunday's 38-29 win over the Eagles.
Analysis: McDonald was more involved in Week 3, logging a season-high three receptions and 35 yards, but he took on a minimal role once again following the Steelers' bye week. He remains entrenched behind Eric Ebron on the team's depth chart, which has resulted in McDonald being targeted just eight times over the first four weeks of the 2020 season.
Oct 12, 2020 10:17 AM EST
McDonald caught all three of his targets for 35 yards in the Steelers' 28-21 Week 3 win over the Texans Sunday.
Analysis: Eric Ebron led Pittsburgh in receiving yards -- and finished tied with receiver James Washington for the most receptions and targets -- further widening the gap with McDonald as the primary pass-catching tight end. Week 4 opponent Tennessee has limited opposing tight ends to just 54 yards per game but have allowed them to score a touchdown in each game. This favors Ebron, making it difficult to insert McDonald in fantasy lineups.
Sep 27, 2020 2:59 PM EST
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