It’s been years since the fantasy football explosion settled. But money is still being made despite increased scrutiny on the business model. Recently, a woman named Jade Roper-Tolbert won one of the larger awards. It’s a curious story, considering Roper-Tolbert was a former contestant on reality show The Bachelor.
But it gets stranger from there, according to ESPN. Now, daily fantasy platform DraftKings is investigating Roper-Tolbert and her husband, noted fantasy player Tanner Tolbert, for fraud allegations.
Who are Jade Roper-Tolbert and Tanner Tolbert?
Jade Roper-Tolbert was a contestant on season 19 of The Bachelor and season two of Bachelor In Paradise in 2015. She “won” the latter series, meeting her future husband Tanner Tolbert, who had appeared on season 11 of The Bachelorette, in the process.
The two wed in 2016, which aired as a special episode of season 20 of The Bachelor. They have two children together, one born in 2017 and the other in 2019. Tanner was noted on his Bachelor In Paradise appearance as a daily fantasy player. Jade, on the other hand, had no interest in sports until more recently.
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According to ESPN, Jade didn’t follow sports until she began running her own daily fantasy lineups in 2019. This admission, along with Tanner’s longer history playing daily fantasy, may explain why DraftKings decided to investigate the pair over their $1 million win.
The reason this is a problem in the first place is due to the DraftKings community guidelines. Group play is prohibited, due to the inherent advantage of two or more people setting unique lineups. Individual players are comparatively limited. Probability dictates that group collusion entrants will win far more often than single entries.
Still, Jade’s big win getting so much attention has some uncomfortable elements. Tanner told ESPN, “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 shone 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.”
It’s a difficult position for DraftKings. The company is going ahead with an investigation, however, because they have evidence that warrants a second look automatically.
Why DraftKings became suspicious of the ex-‘Bachelor’ couple
Jade’s winning lineup formula included Ryan Tannehill, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson, who appeared in 143 of her 150 lineups. Meanwhile, her husband’s lineups avoided all three. He opted for Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Carson Wentz.
At other positions, the couple’s lineups often overlapped. This may be an intentional tactic to cover up collusion at a glance. With a $1 million prize on the line, DraftKings has no reason not to check into the couple’s lineups further.
DraftKings players are normally limited to 150 entries per person. So, with so little overlap in QB choices, the chances of zero collusion are relatively low. The issue comes in enforcement. There are no rules against married couples playing DraftKings across separate accounts. The company simply asks players not to violate a service agreement on collusion.
Depending on the results, the couple may be within their rights to take the case to court. It would be another in a series of legal problems in the daily fantasy space.
Whatever the result, it’s clear that couples, friends, and family should be careful about how they organize their daily fantasy picks if they prefer to keep their prize money.
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