McDonald caught 10 of his team-high 16 targets for 112 yards in Sunday's 45-42 AFC divisional round loss to Jacksonville.
Where was this guy all season? McDonald never caught more than four passes or exceeded 52 yards in a game in his first season with Pittsburgh, and set new single-handed personal bests Sunday for his five-year career. Considering that Jacksonville's defense had been stingy to opposing tight ends this season, McDonald's performance is encouraging for next season, and he seems to have an edge over Jesse James as the pass-catching tight end on the roster.
McDonald, who caught one pass (on two targets) for five yards in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Browns, finishes up the 2017 season with 14 catches (on 24 targets) for 188 yards and one touchdown in 10 games.
McDonald missed several games this season due to injury, and didn't seem to hit his stride until Week 15. Splitting time with Jesse James, along with a diminished role for tight ends in the offensive game plan, resulted in McDonald's worst season since 2014. Pittsburgh signed him to a hefty contract that runs until 2022, so it is unlikely McDonald is going anywhere but, unless there is a change in how he is utilized, his fantasy value will continue to be limited.
McDonald totaled 52 yards on four receptions in Monday's 34-6 win at Houston.
McDonald has now caught four passes for 52 yards in each of his last two games over the past three weeks. Plagued by minor injuries all season, he seems to be hitting his stride, and has a favorable matchup in Week 17 against the Browns, who yield the second most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (9.9 PPG).
McDonald (shoulder) practiced in full Thursday.
McDonald's full participation in practice to begin Week 16 preparations sets the stage for the tight end to return from a one-game absence Monday in Houston. Before the shoulder injury prevented him from playing in the Week 15 loss to the Patriots, McDonald was coming off his best outing of the season -- a four-catch, 52-yard effort in a victory over Baltimore. The absence of all-world wideout Antonio Brown (lower leg) for at least the game against the Texans should put McDonald and most of the Steelers' other tertiary pass catchers in line for elevated target counts.
McDonald (shoulder) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Patriots after not practicing all week.
The absence of McDonald ensures that fellow tight end Jesse James should be busy Sunday, but James will nonetheless be hard-pressed to approach his Week 14 production, after catching 10 of his 12 targets for 97 yards in the Steelers' 39-38 win over the Ravens -- a game that saw QB Ben Roethlisberger pass for 506 yards.
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||15||4||8||119||14.9||25||0||3||0||5|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||8||4||2||30||15.0||21||0||1||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||14||11||30||326||10.9||36||3||5||0||15|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||11||11||24||391||16.3||75||4||6||2||13|
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||15||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||8||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||14||5||5.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||11||1||0.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||8||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||14||2||0||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|