"You've got a nice dividend yield, you've got a constructive looking base on the charts," said Johnson. "It's one that could perform on a relative basis — maybe not absolute but definitely on a relative basis. That's one that's a defensive name that we'd be buying in here."
Verizon's shares bumped up against its rising 50-day moving average in June and in late September before climbing back above it, a constructive move that Johnson sees as an inflection point. Its strength relative to the S&P 500 has also improved. The stock was up 1 percent in Friday's premarket.
Walmart looks to be the favorite among options investors, according to Stacey Gilbert, market strategist at Susquehanna.
"What's really seen the uptick in bullish flow, it's been more Walmart which is kind of interesting because this can be a defensive name but this is also a company that's really gotten its act together relative to some of its performance over the past year," Gilbert said on "Trading Nation" on Thursday.
Walmart fell 3 percent during the past two days, outperforming the S&P 500 and Dow. Its shares were in a spring rout after hitting January records, but have broken back to the upside since midyear. They were up 1.2 percent in Friday's premarket.