In the same theme of benchmarking compounds, the question what is the most potent you should expect a compound to be was addressed by Kuntz and Kollman. Indirectly this led to the whole ligand efficiency debate and the attempt to put fragments and larger molecules on the same scale. It also provides a useful null model in the QSAR and AI fields – if your model doesn’t do better than correlation with atom count, you’ve not contributed much.

“The maximal affinity of ligands” Kuntz, Kollman et al:
PNAS August 31, 1999 96 (18) 9997-10002

On a much larger scale Reynolds et al looked at the same problem 8 years later:

Reynolds CH, Bembenek SD, Touge BA. The role of molecular size in ligand efficiency. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2007 17(15):4258-61.

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