The fantasy baseball waiver wire continues to produce some hidden gems in 2014. Baseball players are known for being incredibly streaky, so it is not surprising that out of nowhere a player who flew under your radar throughout the majority of the season can be acquired and make significant contributions to your roster.
Perhaps the most overlooked player as of late is Atlanta Braves third baseman, Chris Johnson.
Johnson was mainly thought of as a throw-in of the trade in which the Braves acquired Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Atlanta’s front office understood he could be much more. Johnson will never overwhelm statistically, but is a solid journeyman and has done a respectable job replacing Chipper Jones. It is never easy to take over for a future Hall of Famer, but Johnson has been adequate since being given the opportunity.
Johnson has been on a hot streak over the past few weeks. In his last nine games, he has hit over .300 (12 for 35), has had five HRs with 13 RBIs — good for an 11.61 PR15 on ESPN — and is the optimal offensive waiver wire option under 55% owned.
The Braves take on the San Diego Padres in seven of their next ten games, which automatically gives their batters an upgrade in fantasy. The Padres have been one of MLB‘s main sellers thus far in trade season, and their players are being dealt fast and often. Ian Kennedy should be dealt any day now further weakening the Padres roster, and if the Braves have intentions to overtake the Washington Nationals for the NL East, they must capitalize against a San Diego team that has clearly given up.
Currently, Johnson is available in 47% of ESPN leagues but is being picked up at a rapid pace (+28.8%). On Yahoo!, he is being used similarly at 50% owned and deserves a spot on your roster if he doesn’t have one already.