Finding solid tight ends in fantasy football outside of the top 3-5 names can be a brutal task. At times, hitting the waiver wire is going to be your best bet, and that may prove to be the case for some fantasy owners after Week 3.
With an injury to New York Giants tight end Evan Engram and mediocre play from quite a few other big names, Vance McDonald makes for an intriguing fantasy add on the surface. In the midst of his breakout Week 3 performance for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, the 28-year-old gave NFL fans this gem.
A play like this will immediately put you on fantasy football radars, but his play even beyond that makes him worth considering. At the time this is being written, McDonald has three catches for 101 yards and one touchdown with six minutes remaining in the first half of the game. The breakout is obviously surprising, but there are reasons for concern that the upward trend may not continue at this rate.
Vance McDonald’s Fantasy Football Value
After not playing in Week 1 for the Steelers, McDonald ate into Jesse James’ snaps in a big way during the team’s second game. He played 45 percent of the offensive snaps to James’ 55 percent (down from 82 percent in Week 1), per Football Outsiders.
But during the 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, it was James with the big stat line, catching five passes for 138 yards and one score. On the other side, McDonald hauled in 3-of-5 passes for 26 yards.
While the upside has seemingly been there throughout McDonald’s career, he makes for a risky waiver wire addition for fantasy owners ahead of Week 4.
Should You Add Vance McDonald in Fantasy Football?
The former San Francisco 49ers tight end has had a few big games in his career but has never been known as a workhorse pass-catcher. Although the Steelers offense could give him the opportunity to put up the occasional big game (like Monday night), he’s also still splitting time with James.
In Yahoo Sports leagues, McDonald is only owned by 12 percent of players, which sounds about right. Realistically, you’d be smart to let another fantasy owner deal with the back-and-forth headache that’ll come with trying to figure out when he’ll break out.
But on the flip side, if you’re an Engram owner, you likely need to find a replacement and McDonald looks pretty appealing. If your waiver wire has thinned out massively, then the Steelers tight end is a fine spot starter in the right matchup. I’d take a few other names above him still, but we can only be so picky at this position in fantasy football.
And for what it’s worth, seeing this breakout coming wasn’t a total shocker considering the Buccaneers gave up 20 receptions for 210 yards to tight ends through the first two weeks.