Undrafted rookie free agent Emari Demercado has been impressive in limited action, but he’s also dealt with injury issues. Those concerns continued in Week 13, when the Arizona Cardinals RB went down against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s the latest information on Demercado.
Emari Demercado Injury Update
Demercado went down after taking an illegal hit from Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts during the first quarter of Sunday’s game. Kyler Murray overthrew Demercado on a 3rd-and-12 play, while Roberts was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
Demercado initially stayed down on the field but was eventually able to head to the sideline under his own power. He immediately entered the blue medical tent along Arizona’s bench.
#Cardinals RB Emari Demercado took a huge hit from Elandon Roberts that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Demercado went to the medical tent.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) December 3, 2023
The Cardinals subsequently announced that Demercado is being evaluated for concussion and neck injuries.
While he was cleared of a concussion, Demercado was officially ruled out with a neck issue before the start of the third quarter.
Demercado served as Arizona’s lead back in several games earlier this season while James Conner was on injured reserve (IR). The TCU product handled at least 10 touches in three contests, including a season-high 20 carries against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8.
But Demercado then missed three consecutive games with a toe injury. Conner returned during that time, while the Cards also claimed fellow RB Michael Carter off waivers from the New York Jets.
Arizona released running back Keaontay Ingram last week, so the club’s depth chart still has opportunities available if and when Demercado is healthy. But Conner and Carter will lead the backfield for now.
Fantasy Fallout From Demercado’s Injury
The Cardinals’ running game could be forced to rely heavily on Conner for the remainder of their game against the Steelers if Demercado is unable to return. Demercado filled in admirably for Conner when the latter was sent to IR earlier this season.
However, when Conner and Demercado were both in the lineup last week, Demercado saw just three carries for 15 yards, while Conner saw six rushing attempts. Conner’s fantasy value will not significantly change if Demercado misses any time in the coming weeks. He’ll still be in the RB2 conversation on a weekly basis.
— PFN Fantasy Analyst Derek Tate