If he is TE #1 what does he do this week
If you are expecting anything close to Graham's production, I'm afraid you will be disappointed.
Expect something like 3, maybe 4 for 35 yds.
I wouldn't even expect that much. The Saints simply have too many legitimate weapons in their attack to spare more than a passing glance at a backup TE with 5 whole targets on the year. Thomas would be no better than the 6th best passing option in that offense behind Colston, Sproles, Moore, Henderson, and Pierre Thomas. Even around the endzone with no running game, the Saints have attactive matchups like Colston vs smaller DBs and Sproles vs linebackers in space that they'll turn to well before targeting a backup TE.
There has to be a better TE option out there on the waiver wire. I play in a 10 team dyno that starts 2 TEs and goes 22 roster slots deep, and even in that league there are better TEs out there than David Thomas. Heck, a bottom of the barrel option like Fasano is a reliable bet for 4ish catches, 30ish yards, and at least 1 endzone target every game.
Im not sure why you keep referring to him as a backup TE. He wont be a backup TE. He will be the starting TE on a high powered offense that loves to utilize the TE position. They were throwing the ball to their TEs a great deal in this offense long before they had a superstar TE. The offense hasnt changed.
New Orleans features Graham because of the matchup problems that he poses, not simply because he's the first TE in line and they're bound and determined to throw to whatever TE is out there.
You are wrong. This offense is built around the TEs playing an integral role. The tight ends were catching 80-90 balls in this offense before Graham was even on the team. Lets look back over the last few years before Graham exploded on the scene as the dominant TE he was in 2011 to illustrate this point.
Billy Miller and Eric Johnson caught 75 balls and were targeted 104 times combined in this offense in 2007.
Billy Miller, Jeremy Shockey, and Mark Campbell caught 107 passes with a whopping 155 targets in 2008.
Shockey, David Thomas, and And Darnell Dinkins snagged 88 catches on 124 targets in 2009.
Shockey, Thomas, and Graham caught 102 passes on 148 targets in 2010.
As you can clearly see, throwing to the TE is a main feature of their offense. Having a special TE like Graham makes them much more effective in this regard, but it is not, as you claim, the only reason they choose to do this.
Whether they had a great TE like Graham, a good TE like Shockey, or mediocre TEs like Miller, Johnson, and Thomas, they remained committed to throwing the ball to their TEs in this offense.
Back to the original point, no one stated Thomas was going to be Graham. The comment you jumped on was "Expect something like 3, maybe 4 for 35 yds".
I dont think it is unreasonable to think he could catch a few balls this weekend. And given the offense he is in I like his chances to score way more than someone like Fasano which is why I personally said Thomas > Fasano. Thats all.
Oh yeah, I forgot to touch on this, but adding Sproles did nothing to change their desire to involve the TE as you implied. Graham and Thomas had 104 catches on 158 targets with Sproles on the team last year which was very much in line with the TE numbers over the last few years, although Graham did dominate those catches last year at the position catching 99 of them.