Former Bachelor Contestant Who Won $1 Million on DFS Contest Being Investigated for Cheating
Paul Archuleta / Getty Images Contributor. Pictured: Tanner Tolbert and and Jade Roper
Daily fantasy scandals are nothing new. With everything publicly available, the winners, who often pocket seven figures in cash, tend to have their lineups scrutinized by the daily fantasy (DFS) community.
After the NFL Wild Card games ended on Sunday, DraftKings showed that the winner of its Fantasy Football Millionaire contest was Jade Roper. The same Jade Roper who was on The Bachelor Season 19 and met her husband Tanner Tolbert on Bachelor in Paradise Season 2.
It didn't take long for DFS Twitter to start posting evidence that Roper and Tolbert potentially violated DraftKings' rules to gain an advantage over the field. The company announced on Monday morning it was “looking into this matter.”
At the heart of the issue is whether Roper and Tolbert conspired to ensure their lineups had limited overlap on key players. Doing so would violate DraftKings' rules, which say that “team-building complementary lineups which serve to work together and executing a strategy that may create any unfair advantage” is unacceptable.
An example DraftKings' gives:
"You and a group of friends collaborate in NFL contests to each draft different QBs and WRs to guarantee you aren't competing as directly with each other."
In an email to ESPN, the couple denied any wrongdoing: "It is incredibly important for us to establish that Jade's win is nothing more than pure luck. We are confident that DraftKings will determine the same."
Folks within the DFS community like William Bierman, a 30-year-old professional daily fantasy player, began looking into the lineups of Roper and Tolbert soon after Roper won. Bierman went to RotoGrinders, which allows anyone to search the entries of various players. He said he started with Tanner Tolbert’s entries then looked at his wife’s.
“I saw it immediately,” Bierman told The Action Network. “One of them took Saturday’s quarterbacks, the other took Sunday’s quarterbacks. They both faded the most popular wide receiver Michael Thomas and both didn’t use Brady. And, even though this is their first win, they’ve done this before where one takes the maximum entries on one quarterback and the other takes the maximum entries on another.”
This Bachelorette and her husband and both max enter the milly and not share QBs? Her insta and twitter don't have a single sports post prior either. @adamlevitan@AwesemoDFS@DraftKings@TommyG@AlZeidenfeld@CSURAM88pic.twitter.com/6zf79C68Ty
— Chris G (@gravycakesDFS) January 6, 2020
By both entering the maximum amount of entries allowed per person (150 each) and covering a wider range of possibilities by equally splitting up players, Roper and Tolbert gave themselves a better chance to win, critics claim.
Bierman, who won first place in last week’s DraftKings Super Pool and took home $100,000, said he’s never seen entries this lopsided.
“I mean it’s pretty obvious,” Bierman said. “I’ve been doing this for four to five years and this is the most clear-cut case for collusion that I’ve ever seen. … You would just have to talk to [Roper] for five minutes to ask her how she did what she did."
Bierman, who says he was not entered in the contest Roper won, claims he has no skin in the game other than fairness and says the star power of their names has nothing to do with his investigating the results, which he posted on Twitter.
There have been similar claims of collusion made before, but we rarely hear of daily fantasy providers taking action. Whether something will be done here is not yet clear, but what is clear is that who the winner is has put more pressure on DraftKings to be more forthcoming about their process and their findings.
"I understand everyone wants answers and we are trying to work quickly," DraftKings CEO Jason Robins tweeted on Monday afternoon, "but I personally just learned about this within the past hour or two.