A former contestant on “The Bachelor” won $1 million playing daily fantasy football over the weekend.
Now she’s under investigation after being accused of colluding with her husband.
Jade Roper-Tolbert wins $1M
Jade Roper-Tolbert won the DraftKings "Millionaire Maker" contest that consists of creating fantasy lineups from the NFL’s four wild card games. Her lineup included Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf and Minnnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, according to ESPN.
When she won on Sunday afternoon, her victory garnered attention outside of the daily fantasy community because of her celebrity status.
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
Roper-Tolbert was a contestant on the 19th season of “The Bachelor” 2015 and the second season of “Bachelor in Paradise” later that year. She met her husband Tanner Tolbert on “Bachelor in Paradise.” He was also a a contestant in the 11th season of “The Bachelorette” in 2015.
Draft Kings rescinds congratulatory tweet
Draft Kings tweeted out a “Bachelor”-themed congratulations to Roper-Tolbert that has since been deleted amid accusations that the couple colluded to win the $1 million payday.
How the alleged collusion happened
After the victory gained attention, daily fantasy users noticed Roper-Tolbert and Tolbert each submitted the maximum 150 entries allowed into the “Millionaire Maker” contest at $20 per entry. That’s fine and within the Draft Kings rules.
What’s not allowed is collusion between two players to build lineups. Out of the 300 combined entries, 298 of them were unique, according to ESPN, a sign pointing to coordination between the married couple.
Further pointing to collusion is the fact that Tolbert rostered NFC quarterbacks Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz in 148 of his entries, while Roper-Tolbert used AFC quarterbacks Watson, Ryan Tannehill and Josh Allen in 143 of hers.
More unique rosters provide more chances to win, and the couple’s lineups point to circumventing rules prohibiting a maximum of 150 uncoordinated entries.
Draft Kings’ stance
After the accusations of collusion surfaced, Draft Kings released a statement that it was looking into the matter.
"We take the integrity and fairness of our contests very seriously and are looking into this matter," the statement reads.
According to ESPN, Draft Kings has not yet made the $1 million payment as of Monday afternoon.
Tolbert, a frequent, high-volume daily fantasy player according to ESPN, told the network that his and his wife’s case of unique entries wasn’t a matter of collusion.
“We each put in our separate players, in our separate accounts and rooted for own players,” Tolbert said. “No one has ever said a peep about us when we lost for 17 straight weeks. Then, of course, somehow Jade picked the right lineup, got the million and the spotlight got shown on it. And people, especially since she's a woman, assume that I do it all for her. If I had won, I bet no one would've raised a flag.”
Collusion a common concern for DFS
Concerns over collusion in daily fantasy are common. High-level players use advanced metrics and big bankrolls to submit multiple entries in contests to give themselves an edge over recreational players. While rules prohibit collusion, it’s difficult to police coordination over multiple accounts.
In the case of the Tolberts, their celebrity status and the public availability of daily fantasy lineups led to the revelation that they may have colluded to win the big payday.
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