Hi! I'm a free player too,
I've been playing fanta since December aprox and, being patient, making good allies and with a lot of luck, you can get lots of good cards without paying anything. As I said, i've been playing for 4 months more or less and already got a 6* from a 4* star ticket, a pair of 5* and lots of 4* to get more TE.
So, of course paying will make things easier, but still you can get a really decent pack of cards without paying for them.