Over the weekend, DraftKings decided to void an NFL Best Ball Draft due to suspected collusion among users. The company’s integrity committee uncovered evidence indicating that participants were collaborating to build one, if not two, overpowered teams during the draft. 

What Are Best Ball Contests

The operator established its reputation as a trailblazer in the world of DFS. Over time, it expanded its offering to include season-long fantasy contests for popular sports like football, basketball, and baseball, all presented under the famous “Best Ball” branding.

Recently, a best ball draft took place, starting with seemingly ordinary picks of Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Justin Jefferson and San Francisco 49ers’ running back Christian McCaffrey. However, as the draft progressed, some interesting choices were made, leading to suspicions among one participant with the handle “Blackburn72419.”

In Best Ball fantasy contests, users partake in a snake draft to select season-long teams. Unlike traditional fantasy leagues, there is no team management during the season. Each week, the highest-scoring players in each position on a roster contribute points to the team.

As the season progresses, the top teams from the12 team draft move on to the playoff round after Week 14. However, in this particular case, the draft was invalidated to uphold fairness and the integrity of the competition. 

What Happened

In this specific DraftKings contest, the prize at stake was a hefty $1 million, requiring only a $10 entry fee. Typically, in these drafts, the top-performing players are selected early on, while the less favorable choices are made later on. But from the very beginning of this particular draft, it was obvious there was something suspicious going on.

Following the sensible picks of Justin Jefferson and Christian McCaffrey in the first and second spots, respectively, the draft took an unusual turn when Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis, who is often picked in the sixth round or later during regular season drafts, was selected as the third overall pick. This early selection of Davis raised eyebrows and set off alarms that something was going on.

Following the strange selection of Gabe Davis, the draft continued with questionable picks. Justin Ross from the Chiefs, who is often not drafted, followed by Steelers receiver George Pickens, who is normally selected in the seventh round. 

Suspicious behavior continued throughout the draft, with the first two teams, along with user “Blackburn72419” assembled superteams. It’s a mystery if the first two teams were actively involved in alleged collusion or if it was just one while the other benefited from the situation. 

DraftKings addressed the issue on Saturday afternoon on Twitter, stating, “Pursuant to the Terms of Use, the DraftKings Game Integrity Committee has decided to void this contest. We thank you for your patience while DraftKings Game Integrity monitored multiple rounds of the draft to assure our findings were fair and warranted.” The company’s decision to nullify the contest reflects its commitment to ensuring fair play and maintaining the integrity of its platform. 

Past Instances

DraftKings and other daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators have faced allegations regarding collusion in the past, with some instances even involving their employees. One particular case that stands out occurred in January of 2020 when DraftKings took action against a “winner” who had colluded with her husband in a DFS football contest, resulting in them forfeiting the $1 million prize.

The individuals involved were Jade Roper Tolbert and Tanner Tolbert, who had gained fame as contestants on the popular reality show “The Bachelor.” Their collaborations raised concerns about the fairness and integrity of the platform, leading to DraftKings to take decisive measures to address the situation. 

Conclusion

Underdog Fantasy, the host of a huge $15 million Best Ball tournament with a $3 million grand prize, is well aware of the risks associated with collusion, which could compromise the integrity of their contests. Nick Rudman, the GM for Commercial Growth at Underdog, emphasized the importance of contest integrity within the best ball format.

To ensure fair play, they’re prepared to implement an automated search system that looks over various aspects to detect any suspicious activity. While they are taking the issue seriously, players are still allowed and are welcome to draft poorly, as it’s a normal aspect of the game.

Underdog is combining automated processes and manual reviews to make decisions regarding the cancellation of a contest. Prioritizing the assurance of a fair and enjoyable experience for all participants. 



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