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Former Bachelor contestant Jade Roper Tolbert was announced as the winner of DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker contest following NFL wildcard weekend in early January. The ex-reality star was to take home a million dollars and a lifetime of bragging rights, but following an investigation into cheating allegations, she has reportedly been stripped of the title and the money.
For those of you who don’t play fantasy sports, the specifics here may seem a bit complicated, but I’ll do my best to explain them in a way that’s easy to follow. Basically, DraftKings held an event during the first round of the NFL Playoffs. It allowed paying contestants to select up to 150 different fantasy lineups, choosing players between any of the teams still alive. Entrants would get a certain number of points if the players they choose caught passes, scored touchdowns, etc, and whichever lineup got the most points out of all the participating entries would win $1M. That winning lineup was Jade Roper Tolbert’s.
For a hot minute, that seemed like it would be the end of it. She would depart with a fun story and a million bucks, but rumors started swirling among Twitter users that there may have been some shadiness behind the win. DraftKings vowed to look into the matter. Now the whole story has seemingly emerged.
According to ESPN, Roper Tolbert’s husband Tanner Tolbert is a “known high-volume daily fantasy player.” If the allegations are to be believed, the Tolberts, who reportedly earn a lot of money from endorsements and sponsored content, both entered the maximum 150 available lineups, but they worked together in doing so to gain a maximum competitive advantage. She reportedly only featured quarterbacks from the AFC and his lineups almost exclusively featured quarterbacks from the NFC.
That might not sound like a big deal, but when there are only 4 games with a limited number of players, having twice as many lineups allows the player to make many similar lineups with small changes. Think of it as if you were guessing numbers on a lock. 1+2+3. 1+2+4. 1+2+5. 1+2+6, etc. There are obviously more than 300 possible lineups and if there were 16 games during a regular NFL week, the extra 150 chances, while helpful, wouldn’t be that big of a deal. With only 8 quarterbacks and a limited number of potentially impactful running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and kickers to choose from, however, it’s a big competitive advantage.
Jade Roper Tolbert has reportedly been very open that she’s not a sports fan. The couple called her win “pure luck”, but an ESPN investigation reportedly revealed she’s been entering the maximum number of lineups into many contestants all season. Back in August, DraftKings reportedly restricted her account because it shared a payment method with another, presumably her husband’s. The couple was reportedly down $62,000 this season before the $1M win.
Prior to the $1M win being officially stripped, Tanner Tolbert said publicly he wished if DraftKings “had problems with anything”, that they would have handled the issues sooner. At this point, it’s unclear if the couple, who met on Bachelor In Paradise, will appeal the decision, file any legal action or simply move on. As for The Bachelor, the franchise has moved on from these two and is currently airing on ABC and has had no problem generating its own WTF headlines over the past few years.