Jade Roper Tolbert, a former contestant on “The Bachelor,” won the DraftKings $2.25 million Fantasy Football Millionaire contest this weekend, earning a $1 million prize. But the win caused controversy in the daily fantasy sports community, with many accusing Tolbert of colluding with her husband in order to win the contest.
Tolbert played 150 individual lineups in the contest, with one of them earning her a total of 180.78 points, good enough to outpace the second-place entry by 2.62 points.
Tolbert Win Shines Spotlight on Daily Fantasy
After the big win, Tolbert confirmed on Twitter that she was in fact the winner, saying that her husband Tanner had disagreed with one of her key lineup choices. “Hahaha that’s me!,” Tolbert tweeted. “And Tanner told me I shouldn’t play DK Metcalf!”
Hahaha that’s me! And Tanner told me I shouldn’t play DK Metcalf! 🤣🤪 https://t.co/Ry25Kuq4k9
— Jade Roper Tolbert (@jadelizroper) January 6, 2020
Tolbert’s winning lineup included Deshaun Watson at quarterback, with running backs Alvin Kamara and Devin Singletary, wide receivers Adam Thielen, DK Metcallf, and Kenny Stills, tight end Darren Fells, and Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook in the flex slot.
Most DFS players reacted positively to the win. Tolbert – then known as Jade Roper – was a contestant on the 19th season of The Bachelor before also taking part in “Bachelor in Paradise.” She married Tanner Tolbert, whom she met during her time on Bachelor in Paradise.
Such a famous winner could be a huge boon for the daily fantasy world. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Tolbert’s victory could turn the positive story into bad publicity for the industry.
Coordination with Husband Draws Suspicion
Some competitors noted that both Tolbert and her husband submitted the maximum of 150 lineups into the contest. Furthermore, there was virtually no overlap between any of those 300 total entries.
Using multiple accounts to maximize the number of quality lineups is a simple form of collusion. The two accounts didn’t try to cover every possible combination of players, but they did spread their entries in a way that looks strategic. At the quarterback position, for example, Tolbert’s entries focused on Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson, while Jade’s were almost exclusively built around Watson, Josh Allen, and Ryan Tannehill.
She and her husband cheated, end of story. pic.twitter.com/WmRLAKAn4K
— huitcinq (@huitcinqDFS) January 6, 2020
DraftKings has rules that explicitly prohibit such coordination between players, including those strategies under a list of “unacceptable behaviors.” After players expressed their concerns, DraftKings released a statement saying that they would investigate the situation.
“We take the integrity and fairness of our contests very seriously and are looking into this matter,” the statement read.
This is not the first time that the daily fantasy world has been the subject of controversy over impropriety in big money contests.
In 2015, it was revealed that a DraftKings employee won $350,000 by playing in a contest on FanDuel. That sparked concerns that industry insiders might be able to use internal data, such as information on the percentage of lineups that included specific players, to give themselves an advantage on competing sites. FanDuel and DraftKings each quickly moved to ban employees from playing any real money DFS contests after the scandal erupted.