There aren’t any top tier fighters who belong to the latter category as top tier fighters combine the latter with all the advanced techniques. That’s why they’re top tier. You can certainly do decently if you fit into the latter category, but don’t expect to be winning any tournaments, even pretty small ones, without at the very least knowing a few combos to punish and combos you can go into off of hit confirms.
Plinking is in no way necessary, it just makes 1 frame links easier, with practice you can do them without it consistently. FADC’ing is easy, once you can do it in one combo you can pretty much do it in them all. As for frame data, do you honestly think all the top tier players troll forums and SF4 fansites reading up on frame data (hint: this question was asked by I BELIEVE it was Arturo Sanchez or Alex Valle sarcastically in response to somebody asking about frame data)? No, they simply learned through the game which moves are safe and which are not, and roughly how much time after a safe move they have to continue pressure, or before they can do anything after an unsafe one. They may have gone online afterwards, but they certainly didn’t look at it as a prerequisite to know exact frame data.
In short, to be a VERY good player as you stated in your OP, and by very good I’m referring to high/top tier (top 100 EVO placement’ish), yes you do need to know advanced techniques, fundamentals are important, but unless you know the best ways to capitalize off of your fundamentals you won’t be beating other players who have good fundamentals and CAN capitalize off of them.
I don’t see why you wouldn’t learn advanced stuff anyways, most of it can be picked up as you play, and if you want to become a top tier player you absolutely HAVE to spend hours upon hours training at this game, you can’t just go online and play other people, you have to take the time to understand your character completely.