- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 24, 2003

Finally, Warner Brothers has found a cure for fantasy football addiction. No one who watches its new DVD, “NFL Fantasy Preview 2003,” will want to associate with the obsessed, uh, losers on the disc.

Take, for instance, the six fantasy players gathered for a mock draft. The five men and one woman take everything so seriously they would be good candidates to show up on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” Worse yet are talking heads John Mansen, the publisher of fantasyguru.com, and Adam Caplan, the editor of Pro Football News and Injury Report. Each gives advice on how to rank players, draft and manage your roster, and it’s shocking when one of them admits he has a wife and child. It almost makes you feel sorry for Ron Jaworski and Spencer Tillman, who somehow were convinced to play host to this nonsense.

The two-DVD set is split into five sections: introduction, player rankings, draft strategy, mock draft and roster management. The draft strategy provides the most information, but the nearly hour-long mock draft is the most intriguing. Watch as the six team owners try to outwit each other with deft moves, then listen as the heads discuss many of the picks with all the thrill of TV golf commentators.

If these guys don’t put you to sleep during the 3-hour program, there’s probably some decent general advice here for hardcore players. For instance, Mansen and Caplan suggest loading up on running backs in the first couple of rounds and watching changes in coaches and coordinators to see how some players might be affected. Plus, there’s plenty of interactive features, including explanations of scoring systems, league types and statistical listings.

Sadly, none of the features gives as much information as you want. Click on the origins of fantasy football and you will discover that the heads don’t actually know the origin of fantasy football.

What must have seemed like a grand idea to Warner Brothers just doesn’t work. As the name suggests, most of “NFL Fantasy Preview 2003” pertains only to this season. Player rankings and the mock draft will have little value in the future and are out of date considering injuries to players like Michael Vick and Michael Bennett. Hence, the DVD will have no shelf life; after the Washington Redskins and New York Jets begin the NFL season Sept.4 at FedEx Field, the disc has no value.

And speaking of value, “NFL Fantasy Preview 2003” apparently can be found at major retailers for the low price of $27 or so. The advice here? Plop down the $7-$8 for a magazine that you won’t feel so guilty tossing in the trash in a few weeks.

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