This article is part of our The Z Files series.
One of the allures of auction drafting is everyone can roster every player, so long as they're willing to pay the price. The question is, when is the price too much? When does the cost exceed production, yielding a negative return on investment?
Many likely believe it's as simple as converting the player's projection into projected dollars earned, thus anything over that number is overpaying.
Others will agree, with the caveat they don't need their best players to return profit. All they want is for the top players to provide a stable foundation, confident they'll find ample profit elsewhere.
A few will counter, contending that you're going to get the lower-end profit regardless, but by overpaying at the top, you don't enjoy the full extent of the profit.
Another faction might suggest the same player may be worth something different to each drafter, depending on their overall strategy and team needs at the time the player is nominated.
In my 20-plus years of playing, and discussing this game, I have read and heard iterations of these arguments countless times. However, most seem to overlook an important factor. Regardless of strategy, format, needs, etc., irrespective of whatever qualifier you want to put forth, overpaying isn't a function of paying more than the player is worth because there's no way of accurately establishing what a player is worth.
This goes beyond a simple truism like, "Projections are a range, not a static number." Even if we magically knew exactly how every player