A Sept. 6 Sports article incorrectly said that actress Regina King plays Ray Charles's wife in the upcoming movie "Ray." She plays Charles's mistress. (Published 9/9/04)

Actress Regina King has played Cuba Gooding Jr.'s wife in "Jerry Maguire," and will play Jamie Foxx's wife in "Ray," the Ray Charles biopic that opens next month. King also plays fantasy football -- she is the sole female owner in the "Hollywood Fantasy Football League," which debuts on the NFL Network tomorrow night. Her first pick? Ahman Green, in the No. 4 slot.

So how did you get suckered into doing this fantasy football draft?

Well, I wouldn't really say I got suckered into doing it. My publicist has always been amazed how much I love sports -- he's always telling my husband, "You're a lucky man, you're so lucky." He just thought it would be a really cool thing to let the guys know how much I am into sports.

What's your team called?

The Hustlers. My son came up with that.

Did he give you any advice?

Well, you know, he picked the obvious players, but I had to tell him, "It doesn't really work like that, sweetie."

Did you study a lot?

Yeah, I did study. I'm not going to say I studied like I studied for the SATs, but you've got to put in some time. The thing is, it's not about who is the greatest player on "SportsCenter." You really have to look at the stats and where they are on the team, how many touches they're going to get.

Why do you think fantasy football is so popular?

Especially for men, it gives them a chance to feel like they really are making some decisions out there on the field. If you watch sports with any guy, they really seem to think, you know, "If I was him. . . ." It's like, "Dude, if you were him, we would not be living in this house."

My editor thinks we're all weirdos for spending all our time on this.

He's probably from the old school, he probably doesn't even get the whole thing of people playing video games with someone in another state. For me, personally, it keeps a lot of guys in the straight-up, they're not getting into trouble. Keeps their heads out of other places.

So you don't think it's unhealthy that I spend all my free time trying to decide if I should pick up Mewelde Moore or Reno Mahe?

Actually, no, I don't. That's just the difference between men and women. There are men out there that would grab a book instead of that, but probably the majority of guys in the age range 20 to 40 would much rather do this.

What's your favorite football team?

I don't jump ship when things aren't going well. I have been a Dolphins fan for quite a long time -- check the age, I'm 33 -- so I started with Marino and haven't jumped ship yet. Although we seem like a cursed organization, that's still my team.

Any predictions for the Dolphins this year?

I stay away from making predictions about the Lakers or the Dolphins.

Okay, how about this: Who's going to have a better year, the Hustlers or the Dolphins?

The Hustlers, yeah. If I just stick with the team I have right now, we would do better than the Dolphins. I actually picked one Dolphin -- even though you're not supposed to pick with passion. . . . I figured Ricky's not there any more, and although Chris Chambers drops the ball and fumbles the ball, he's still a pretty good wide receiver. That's who I've got right now, but talk to me in December.

-- Dan Steinberg

REGINA KING