After last week’s fantastic viewing experience with DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel, it’s time to move to the satellite provider’s new NFL Sunday Ticket feature, the Fantasy Zone Channel which runs concurrent with RZC. With the Fantasy Zone Channel, DirecTV appears to be running it totally opposite from Red Zone Channel. Instead of one host in Los Angeles with RZC, Fantasy Zone Channel has a host with four analysts with a live studio audience in New York.

While Fantasy Zone Channel has live cut-ins, there’s constant talk from the panel on how the action affects fantasy points and projections on how many points players could reach.

In addition, there are interviews with guests, this week it was former Man v. Food host Adam Richman and CBS Sports Radio/CBS Sports Network’s Dana Jacobson.

It’s as if DirecTV wanted to create a channel that is not a clone of Red Zone Channel, but a totally different experience. Kay Adams of Rotoworld and former linebacker Dhani Jones are the co-hosts. They’re joined by former fullback Jon Ritchie and fantasy football expert John Hansen. And to discuss football injuries, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Adickes, a former offensive lineman, is on hand at a moment’s notice.

Let’s grade Fantasy Zone Channel and see how it did in Week 13.


Hosts: Kay Adams and Dhani Jones
Analysts: Jon Ritchie and John Hansen
Medical Insider: Dr. Mark Adickes

Best Segments

They occurred during the late afternoon window when there were just two games and Fantasy Zone Channel had to fill time. During an NFL Sunday, we’re very likely eating food so Fantasy Zone Channel brought in guests from Artichoke Pizza in New York not only to show off its pizza, but to provide some food to the set. Last week I joked about hosts and anchors eating food on the set. This week, we saw Kay Adams and Jon Ritchie eating food live!

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While seeing people eat isn’t the best visual, this wasn’t a bad segment especially if you’re hungry.

Also, seeing Dr. Mark Adickes talk about injuries and how they’re diagnosed was a very interesting segment. How often during a studio show do you see a prepared graphic on a human body?

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This was actually fascinating television. Who knew that a football studio program could be educational? And it came right after the food segment so it killed any appetite one might have had. Here’s another graphic.

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Worst Segment

Guest segments don’t always work. Bringing in Adam Richman to talk about his fantasy team and his audition for his old Travel Channel show, Man v. Food, wasn’t very strong at all. However, a later segment with Dana Jacobson worked very well.

Standout Performer

Dr. Mark Adickes doesn’t have enough time. His knowledge of the game having played in the NFL in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, plus being able to talk about injuries gives Fantasy Zone Channel an edge over other shows. Plus, he’s able to talk about the medical aspect of the game in real time. His segments were fantastic.

Say What? (weirdest quote)


What’s Unique About This Show?

Lots of fantasy talk. If you like fantasy, then this show is for you.

Why You Should Watch

To watch the live action, plus the crawls which update points and individual statistics in real-time.

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In addition, panel cut-ins to analyze the action. It’s not Red Zone Channel where you see scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity. Kay does provide highlights when applicable, but it’s all-fantasy, all the time.

Why You Should Stay Away

If you’re not a fantasy geek and want to see the non-stop action, then you should turn to Red Zone Channel or NFL RedZone. This will keep the information coming plus there are graphics that fill the screen. If you don’t like screen clutter, then Fantasy Zone Channel is not for you.

Overall Grade

The Fantasy Zone Channel is not the Red Zone Channel, but then again, DirecTV has purposely made them different. It’s pretty decent television. It’s not quite up to par with Red Zone Channel, but as stated last week, the shows coming after RZC will be hard to match its quality. Still, Fantasy Zone Channel is a good effort and is a nice companion to Red Zone Channel.

However, it is not Grade A quality, it is more in the low B quality so give Fantasy Zone Channel a B minus.

Next week, we grade ESPN’s NFL Matchup and Monday Night Countdown.

Sunday Studio Show Rankings

Red Zone Channel (DirecTV): A+
Fox NFL Sunday (Fox): B+
NFL GameDay Morning (NFL Network): B
That Other Pregame Show (CBS Sports Network): B
Fantasy Zone Channel (DirecTV): B-
Fox NFL Kickoff (Fox Sports 1): B-
NFL GameDay Final (NFL Network): B-
Football Night in America (NBC): C+
NFL GameDay First (NFL Network): C+
The NFL Today (CBS): C
Sunday NFL Countdown (ESPN): C-
NFL GameDay Live (NFL Network): D-

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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