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Steelers add tight end as Vance McDonald sidelined with shoulder sprain

The Steelers tight end depth took a hit in Week 3 as Vance McDonald injured his shoulder. We break down the fantasy football implications as the team works to trade for Nick Vannett.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the process of finalizing a trade for tight end Nick Vannett, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, following word of injury to another tight end on the roster. Vance McDonald was spotted in a sling at the team’s facility that day, according to Steelers reporter Dale Lolley. McDonald left Sunday’s game against the 49ers after suffering the injury.

McDonald is dealing with a shoulder sprain, and while it should not involve an extended absence, it does impact the team’s depth, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. McDonald had receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns at the time of the injury.

Fantasy impact: The Steelers face the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in Week 4, so that means their first formal practice report will not arrive until Thursday afternoon. Given Rapoport’s language of “extended absence,” it seems likely we see McDonald miss the MNF game, and be reevaluated next week. However, we’ll get a better handle once Mike Tomlin meets with the media.

Xavier Grimble could see more work in the short term, but Vannett is likely to slot into a starting role as soon as he is ready. It provides some potential value for Vannett, but once McDonald returns, that value goes away.