Bachelor star accused in $1m footy ‘cheat’ storm
A BACHELOR in Paradise power couple is the subject of a fantasy football collusion scandal after former Bachelor contestant Jade Roper Tolbert won $1 million in DraftKings' Milly Maker American football tournament this wild-card weekend.
Roper Tolbert is married to former Bachelorette contestant Tanner Tolbert.
The pair met in 2016 on season two of Bachelor in Paradise, a spin-off series of The Bachelor, and have two children together.
"Doesn't even feel real over here! Officially speechless," she posted on Twitter, confirming her win.
Jade, 33, and Tanner, 32, entered a whopping 150 line-ups each in the Milly Maker, the maximum allowed per person in this daily fantasy sports tournament.
Congratulations and praise quickly soured in the fantasy community before accusations emerged that the Tolberts had colluded to generate 300 unique entries to increase their chances of winning.
Doesn’t even feel real over here! Officially speechless. LIKE WHAAAAAAAAT. 🤯🥳🥳🥳😵 https://t.co/7yMFZtI4Au— Jade Roper Tolbert (@jadelizroper) January 6, 2020
On Monday (AEDT), Jade Tolbert tweeted, "Hahaha that's me! Tanner told me I shouldn't play DK Metcalf!" in response to a screenshot of the tournament's final standings.
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
Twitter sleuths quickly uncovered that Jade had used Metcalf in 88 per cent of her line-ups, while Tanner had Metcalf in 78 per cent of his line-ups.
"This is absolutely insanity and is the clearest collusion ever. Check the QBs lmao," tweeted noted DFS player William Bierman with a chart breakdown.
This is absolutely insanity and is the the clearest collusion ever. Check the QBs lmao pic.twitter.com/JudoCAT0JQ— William Bierman (@williambierman) January 6, 2020
Suspicion heightened when fellow Bachelorette alum Chris Randone congratulated Tanner Tolbert for winning the Milly Maker on Twitter instead of Jade. Randone deleted the tweet shortly afterwards.
The seemingly co-ordinated effort is even more curious in light of a dismissive tweet from Jade Tolbert in 2017.
"I get fantasy football, but I don't get why guys have to be in 97282913 different leagues," she posted at the time.
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The tournament has a $20 entry fee and is capped at 150 entries per participant to level the playing field by prohibiting the use of brute force to exploit the system.
The evidence suggests that the line-ups were used in tandem to create greater coverage within the tournament, unfairly maximising their competitive advantage. Deeper analysis from DFS players across Twitter revealed damning patterns between the line-ups.
Most notably, Jade's line-ups honed in on three of the AFC quarterbacks - Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill and Deshaun Watson - playing last Saturday, while Tanner was heavily invested in Sunday's NFC trio of Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz.
Bierman also noted significant correlations within the other positions, which suggests it is highly unlikely two completely independent parties constructed these two sets of line-ups.
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"Conduct that would be deemed improper" includes "Colluding with any other individual(s) or engaging in any type of syndicate play," or "Using a single Account to participate in a Contest on behalf of multiple entrants or otherwise collaborating with others to participate in any Contest."
Furthermore, DraftKings' community page notes all of the following is unacceptable behaviour: "Group play behaviour designed to gain an unfair advantage over others" such as "Team-building complementary line-ups which serve to work together AND executing a strategy that may create any unfair advantage over individual play" or "Entering the maximum number of entries in a contest, type of contest, or event, and having a 3rd party, regardless of their relationship, put in additional entries for you."
DraftKings initially leaned into the publicity by congratulating the former Bachelor star in a since-deleted tweet.
However, the fantasy football organisation confirmed on Tuesday (AEST) that the episode was under investigation for a potential violation of the terms and conditions.
"We take the integrity and fairness of our contests very seriously and are looking into this matter," the statement read.