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Fangio, Mack at the top of the league


If the NFL presented awards for the first quarter of the 2018 season, ESPN's Bill Barnwell believes that Vic Fangio would win "Coordinator of the Year" and Khalil Mack would be the "Defensive Player of the Year."

The Bears defense under Fangio entered Week 5 leading the NFL with 18 sacks and eight forced fumbles and was second with eight interceptions. The unit ranked fourth in the league in total yards, second against the run and ninth versus the pass.

"The easy comparison might be to compare Fangio to Wade Phillips as the older consigliere to a young, offensive-minded head coach," Barnwell wrote. "It might be more accurate to compare Fangio's Bears to the Jaguars. Just as the Jaguars made a quiet leap to the middle of the pack in 2016 before adding star talent during the offseason and becoming the best defense in football last season, the Bears jumped from 23rd to 14th in defensive DVOA last season before adding Khalil Mack this offseason.

"The Bears rank second in the league in Defensive WPA through four weeks and lead the league with an 11.4 percent sack rate. And while Mack and Akiem Hicks are the defense's two best players, seven of Chicago's 11 starters on defense are homegrown players."

Mack was named NFC defensive player of the month for September after registering five sacks, one strip/sack in each of the first four games and a pick-six in the season opener in Green Bay.

"Speaking of Mack, it would just be impossible to put anybody ahead of him on this list through the first quarter of the season," Barnwell wrote. "He has been a playmaking machine. … Through three weeks, the Bears were allowing a 77.8 passer rating and 7.3 yards per attempt with Mack on the field and a 142.6 passer rating with 9.3 yards per attempt while Mack was on the bench."

Barnwell also ranks Matt Nagy second as "NFL Coach of the Year" a quarter through the season behind the Titans' Mike Vrabel. Nagy has led the Bears into first place in the NFC North with a 3-1 record after winning three straight games for the first time since 2013.

It might only be Week 5 in the NFL, but in your fantasy league, the hunt for the playoffs is already intense. Take a look back at the top Bears fantasy performances so far this year.